Buried Child

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Halie Character Analysis

Dodge’s wife, who is in her sixties. Halie attempts to ignore the bleak circumstances around her by indulging in a mix of nostalgia, religion, and extra-marital sex. She worships the somewhat fictionalized memory her third son, Ansel, who died in rather mysterious and odd circumstances. In addition, she attempts to cover up the fact she had a baby with her eldest son Tilden. During the first act Halie leaves for a lunch meeting with Father Dewis, and does not return until the following morning, in Act Three—clearly suggesting that she’s having an affair with the minister. Halie’s ideologies and behavior are often at odds. She rails against Dodge for his cynicism and nastiness, citing religion as her guide, and yet her own actions are wholly self-interested. For much of the play, Halie is present only through the sound of her voice, which is heard from offstage.

Halie Quotes in Buried Child

The Buried Child quotes below are all either spoken by Halie or refer to Halie. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Buried Child published in 2006.
Act 1 Quotes

“You should take a pill for that! I don’t see why you just don’t take a pill! Be done with it once and for all. Put a stop to it. It’s not Christian but it works. It’s not necessarily Christian, that is. We don’t know. There’s some things the ministers can’t even answer. I, personally, can’t see anything wrong with it. Pain is pain. Pure and simple. Suffering is a different matter. That’s entirely different. A pill seems as good an answer as any.”

Related Characters: Halie (speaker), Dodge
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

This quotation introduces us to the hypocritically religious side of Halie's character. While she invokes religion with reasonable frequency, muddled statements like this one ("It's not necessarily Christian, that is. We don't know. There's some things ministers can't even answer.") indicate that she calls on religion when it is convenient, abandons it when it isn't, and is generally casual about its teachings. 

This is also an interesting quotation because she distinguishes here between pain and suffering. Halie believes that it is appropriate to take a pill to cure the physical pain of Dodge's cough, but she indicates that it would not be appropriate to take a pill to cure suffering, that suffering has some kind of importance that shouldn't be erased. Indeed, throughout the play we see each family member encased in his or her own suffering, and, though they are all family, nobody seems to be trying to ease anyone else's suffering. Halie's statement proves prophetic, in a sense, because the family's suffering cannot be eased until it reaches an aggravated fever pitch and the family secret is revealed. 

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Halie’s Voice: You always imagine the worst things in people.

Dodge: That’s not the worst! That’s the least of the worst!

Related Characters: Dodge (speaker), Halie (speaker)
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

In this exchange, Dodge has just accused Halie of encouraging Bradley to shave Dodge's head, which Dodge did not want. He makes a speech about how she was trying to "dress up the corpse" for company by having his head shaved and outfitting him with objects like a pipe and the Wall Street Journal, an accusation which alludes to Halie's penchant for fantasy and revisionism. In the exchange that follows, in which Halie says he is imagining the worst, and Dodge says it's "the least of the worst," he is making one of the many veiled references that appear throughout the play to the family secret (the buried child). So this exchange is a coded one in which Dodge accuses Halie of emasculating him and creating a fantasy, Halie tells him he is imagining the worst, and Dodge reminds her that her behavior has been much more depraved, likely referring to her incest and adultery. It is one of many examples of the family members jockeying for power over one another, humiliating each other, and reminding each other of their past mistakes. 

Halie’s Voice: Tilden’s the oldest. He’ll protect you.

Dodge: Tilden can’t even protect himself.

Related Characters: Dodge (speaker), Halie (speaker), Tilden, Bradley
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

Dodge, the ailing patriarch, is threatened by his son Bradley, who is violent and aggressive with him. In this exchange Dodge is worried that Bradley will shave his head while he is sleeping again, and Halie insists that their other son Tilden will protect him. This is another example of Halie's delusions, in which she imagines her family to be much more functional than it is. Tilden is clearly mentally disturbed and vulnerable, but Halie still insists (when not confronted by the actual presence of Tilden) that he is the beloved football star who can fulfill his role as oldest son. This is an example of Shepard casting doubt on the reality of the American Dream; Halie relies on the traditional idea that the oldest son would protect his father, but this has never been the reality of their family, which readers understand more and more as the family secrets come out. For his part, Dodge recognizes that Bradley is dangerous and Tilden is incapable, but the family has degenerated so much that nobody will listen to Dodge and provide the care he desires. Dodge's violence and cruelty to others makes this negligence seem understandable, but the unavoidable conclusion is that the family has descended into chaos.

Tilden: I never had any trouble.

Dodge: Tilden, your mother told me all about it.

Tilden: What’d she tell you?

Dodge: I don’t have to repeat what she told me! She told me all about it!

Related Characters: Dodge (speaker), Tilden (speaker), Halie
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

In this exchange Tilden and Dodge are discussing Tilden's mysterious time in New Mexico, which Shepard obliquely indicates was marred by trouble, though all the reader knows is that Tilden was forced to come home because he could not look after himself anymore. However, this exchange becomes more meaningful in light of the play's later revelation that Halie conceived an incestuous child with Tilden. The double significance of this passage shows how the past weighs on this family, particularly the parts of the past that everyone knows but nobody is willing to speak about. Because these parts of the past have not been acknowledged and dealt with, the family members can continue to use shameful parts of the past as leverage over one another.

This passage is also an example of the ways in which the family members taunt each other and strive for power and dominance. In this scene Tilden wants to be treated like an adult, but Dodge continues to assert himself by prodding at Tilden about New Mexico. This is another case in which Shepard is poking a hole in the American dream. While the American dream indicates that a son should strike out on his own and succeed as his father had done, not only did Tilden fail to succeed on his own, but the home he returns to is a barren farm that is practically abandoned by his cruel and inept family. 

You’ve gotta watch out for him. It’s our responsibility. He can’t look after himself anymore, so we have to do it. Nobody else will do it. We can’t just send him away somewhere. If we had lots of money we could send him away. But we don’t. We never will. That’s why we have to stay healthy. You and me. Nobody’s going to look after us. Bradley can’t look after us. Bradley can hardly look after himself… I had no idea in the world that Tilden would be so much trouble. Who would have dreamed? Tilden was an All-American, don’t forget. Don’t forget that. Fullback. Or quarterback. I forget which.

Related Characters: Halie (speaker), Dodge, Tilden, Bradley
Page Number: 25-26
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Halie moves between her nostalgic fantasies and her recognition of the decaying state of their family life. While she recognizes that her two sons are unable to take care of her and Dodge, it is absurd for her to insist that she and Dodge "have to stay healthy" and take care of Tilden, as Dodge is clearly near death and is incapable of taking care of his son. 

This also provides a classic example of Halie's nostalgia for a time in which she seems to believe her family embodied the American Dream, and her confusion over why the family has not turned out the way the American Dream promised. Halie can't understand why Tilden, since he used to be a star fullback, is now helpless and "so much trouble." This seems steeped in denial, since she and Tilden had an incestuous relationship that produced a child that Dodge murdered; any one of those factors could have deeply affected Tilden's adult life. In addition, the fact that Halie gives this speech in full earshot of Tilden shows the bizarre cruelty of the family, as Halie does not even attempt to spare Tilden his dignity by giving such a negative assessment of his potential in private. 

I put all my hopes in Ansel… Course then when Ansel died and left us all alone. Same as being alone. No different. Same as if they’d all died… He was a hero. Don’t forget that. Brave. Strong…

Related Characters: Halie (speaker), Ansel
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage comes during a bizarre monologue of Halie's in which she progressively inflates her opinion of her dead son Ansel, showing the audience her delusions in action. She begins the monologue seemingly uncertain as to Ansel's place in her estimation ("Ansel wasn't as handsome, but he was smart. He was the smartest probably. I think he probably was."), but by the end of the monologue she has convinced herself that Ansel was the greatest person in the family, and deserves to be commemorated with a full statue in town. 

This is a clear example of Halie's unwillingness to be honest with herself about the family's problems, constantly blaming others for her own difficulties. Here, she blames Ansel's death for the demise of the family, suggesting that her other sons meant nothing to her after Ansel was gone, a deeply cruel statement coming from their mother. This monologue also shows how the past in this play acts as both scapegoat and irritant. Because the bad events from the family's past are never openly spoken about, nobody is held accountable to the truth of the past. Halie is free to revise her family's history as she sees fit, allowing her to evade responsibility for her faults. This slippery presence of the past also allows family members to cruelly torment each other by referencing events without conscientiously diving into them.

He was blind with love. Blind. I knew. Everyone knew. The wedding was more like a funeral. You remember? All those Italians. All that horrible black, greasy hair. The rancid smell of cheap cologne. I think even the priest was wearing a pistol. When he gave her the ring I knew he was a dead man. I knew it. As soon as he gave her the ring. But then it was the honeymoon that killed him. The honeymoon. I knew he'd never come back from the honeymoon.

Related Characters: Halie (speaker), Ansel
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

This statement, referring to Ansel's wedding day, is the first indication that Halie may have had an incestuous relationship with her sons. The revelation, which comes about as Halie expresses bizarre and possessive feelings towards her son and an obsessive focus on his honeymoon, shows another layer of deep dysfunction within the family, and indicates the power and violence of the family bond. This is one iteration of the theme that returns again and again in the play—the idea that no family member can ever escape the family.

This revelation is particularly disturbing, since it comes in a monologue that is full of hatred for Catholics, blaming Ansel's death on his Catholic wife, whom Halie describes as "the devil incarnate." Halie is the character in the play for whom religion is most important, but her blanket hatred of Catholics shows how dogmatic and perverse her sense of religion really is. It also shows how deep her sins are and how shallow her empathy is, as her feelings toward Ansel's marriage are only ones of violent jealousy, and never happiness for her son.

Things keep happening while you’re upstairs, ya know. The world doesn’t stop just because you’re upstairs. Corn keeps growing. Rain keeps raining.

Related Characters: Dodge (speaker), Halie
Related Symbols: Rain, Vegetables
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

This complex statement, which comes in a conversation about whether or not there is corn growing in the backyard, gives the audience a sense of the contested reality the family is living in. Tilden, the family member most haunted by their secret, has always been able to see the corn growing in the back yard, and he continues to bring it inside throughout the play. Dodge has previously said to Tilden that there is no corn outside, but here, speaking to Halie, he claims that there is. Halie claims that she can see the backyard from upstairs and there is no corn. Symbolically, this has to do with each family member's willingness to admit to the existence of the murdered child. Halie is in complete denial, while Dodge is willing to reference the child at times when it is convenient for him (in other words, in order to taunt or gain power over other family members) but not at other times, so it makes sense that his statements about the corn are contradictory. Tilden, who makes the family aware of the corn in the first place, is the character for whom it seems most crucial to bring the secret out in the open, and he is the one who, at the end, literally exhumes the body. The imagery of the corn growing and the rain coming down also relates to the process of bringing forward the family secret. The rain and the corn give a sense of possibility for the family, of potential cleansing and renewal if everyone can acknowledge the truth of what happened.

Halie: I don’t know what’s come over you, Dodge. I don’t know what in the world’s come over you. You’ve become an evil man. You used to be a good man.

Dodge: Six of one, half a dozen of another.

Halie: You sit here day and night, festering away! Decomposing! Smelling up the house with your putrid body! Hacking your head off till all hours of the morning! Thinking up mean, evil, stupid things to say about your own flesh and blood!

Dodge: He’s not my flesh and blood! My flesh and blood’s buried in the back yard!

The Baby

Related Characters: Dodge (speaker), Halie (speaker), Bradley
Page Number: 32-33
Explanation and Analysis:

If it isn't clear to the audience yet that something very bad has happened in this family, it should be now. This revelation comes at the end of an argument in which Dodge insulted Bradley, and instead of defending Bradley's worth or character, Halie resorts to berating Dodge for his willingness to insult their son. This argument is another example of the family's cruelty to one another and their constant leveraging of the past in order to gain power. Though it is not entirely clear why Dodge brings up the buried child, it seems that he understands that bringing it up would abruptly end the argument, since Halie, who lives in a nostalgic world of denial and fantasy, cannot address the reality of the dead child. This clearly shows how Dodge only acknowledges the child out of convenience, while Halie cannot acknowledge it at all. 

Dodge's statement about the child is complex, as it seems to imply that the child was his, though we learn later that it was Tilden's. Since Dodge's statement about the child comes after his disavowal of the familial tie between himself and Bradley, the statement can be read more broadly as an admission that the family ("flesh and blood") was ruined as a result of the murder of the child. 

Act 2 Quotes

We had a baby. He did. Dodge did. Could pick it up with one hand. Put it in the other. Little baby. Dodge killed it… Dodge drowned it… Never told Halie. Never told anybody. Just drowned it… Nobody could find it. Just disappeared. Cops looked for it. Neighbors. Nobody could find it… Finally everybody just gave up. Just stopped looking. Everybody had a different answer. Kidnap. Murder. Accident. Some kind of accident.

Related Characters: Tilden (speaker), Dodge, Halie, Shelly, The Baby / Buried Child
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

This is the first reference to the buried child that is an outright admission rather than a veiled comment intended to harm or silence another family member. Throughout the play, Tilden seems to have a need to exhume the secret (and the literal corpse) more than any other character, so it makes sense that he would be the one to first confess the secret to Shelly. 

The opening of this passage shows how the family secret has warped everyone's sense of the past and of truth. Tilden, who is the biological father of the child, seems confused about to whom the child belongs. Tilden is capable of identifying that an awful thing has occurred, and he provides some specifics, but he balks at admitting that his own incestuous involvement with Halie produced the child. Tilden also, in his claim that nobody could find the body and nobody had an answer for why it was gone, speaks to the swirl of misinformation and trauma surrounding the family having kept this a secret for so long. What is missing for them is both a literal body and also a truth; without both of these, the family cannot move on.

Act 3 Quotes

Well, prayerfully, God only hears what he wants to. That’s just between you and me of course. In our heart of hearts we know we’re every bit as wicked as the Catholics.

Related Characters: Father Dewis (speaker), Halie
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Father Dewis comes into the house with Halie, clearly drunk in the middle of the day after having committed adultery with her. He then proceeds to say that he is not worried about being punished because "God only hears what he wants to," a statement that undermines the very foundation of the faith that Father Dewis claims to represent. This quotation hearkens back to Halie's statement about how Dodge could take the pain pills even though they might not be Christian, because there are things that even ministers can't answer (there is little question now as to why she might think this, or why she might have such a casual attitude towards her faith). The statement also reminds us of Halie's prejudiced rant against Catholics when she blames them for Ansel's death. Father Dewis, it seems, has unintentionally pointed out Halie's hypocrisy by admitting that they are "every bit as wicked as the Catholics." There is not a single character in the story that displays genuine faith, and because of that, religion, like the American Dream, is presented as something hollow, a pretense that characters maintain because it is socially acceptable. 

Halie: Ansel’s getting a statue, Dodge. Did you know that? Not a plaque but a real live statue. A full bronze. Tip to toe. A basketball in one hand and a rifle in the other.

Bradley: He never played basketball!

Halie: You shut up, Bradley! You shut up about Ansel! Ansel played basketball better than anyone! And you know it! He was an All American! There’s no reason to take the glory away from others.

Related Characters: Halie (speaker), Bradley (speaker), Dodge, Ansel
Page Number: 97-98
Explanation and Analysis:

This moment showcases the grandiosity and absurdity of Halie's delusions. She has convinced the hypocritical Father Dewis to erect a statue of her son Ansel, whom she remembers (it seems dubiously) as a sports hero. While many questions have been raised as to the quality of Halie's memory, this exchange shows, perhaps most clearly, the extent to which she feels she needs to rewrite the past. Halie is not simply satisfied with her saccharine and manipulated narratives of the family's past—she also feels the need to also have others recognize her delusions by casting them in bronze. When Bradley attempts to fact-check Halie, she lashes out at him, refusing to admit to her own falsehoods and accusing Bradley instead of trying to "take the glory away" from Ansel. This shows how heavily the past weighs on these characters, as well as the cruelties they are willing to propagate in the present in order to protect a past that is traumatic and dubiously remembered.

We can’t not believe in something. We can’t stop believing. We just end up dying if we stop. Just end up dead.

Related Characters: Halie (speaker), Dodge, Father Dewis
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

This statement is, in a somewhat twisted way, Halie's attempt at justifying her consuming nostalgia and her revisionist memories. She refers to Dodge as somebody who is dead because he stopped believing in anything. Though Dodge is not wholly honest about the family's past, he is certainly more up front than Halie about his children's failures and about the existence of the buried child. In this way, Halie is indicating that Dodge, by refusing to believe her manipulated narratives about family and their past, has stopped believing in anything, and she implies that perhaps she finds her life force and happiness from her delusions. This is somewhat heartbreaking, as Halie may gain a sense of haughtiness from her bizarre sense of the family's past, but she does not seem to find happiness and compassion in it; she is clearly as petty and cruel as any other character in the play. It is also important that this statement is framed in the context of religion. In a religious context, finding something to believe in or something to give life a purpose generally comes with a practice of humility, truth-seeking, and kindness. For Halie, though, the thing she believes in actually makes her more isolated and cruel than she likely would have been if she were willing to face the truth. This shows Halie's perverse sense of religion and the kinds of rituals that give life meaning.

Don’t come near me! Don’t anyone come near me. I don’t need any words from you. I’m not threatening anybody. I don’t even know what I’m doing here. You all say you don’t remember Vince, okay, maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s Vince that’s crazy. Maybe he’s made this whole family thing up. I don’t even care anymore. I was just coming along for the ride. I thought it’d be a nice gesture. Besides, I was curious. He made all of you sound familiar to me. Every one of you. For every name, I had an image. Every time he’d tell me a name, I’d see the person. In fact, each of you was so clear in my mind that I actually believed it was you. I really believed that when I walked through that door that the people who lived here would turn out to be the same people in my imagination. Real people. People with faces. But I don’t recognize any of you. Not one. Not even the slightest resemblance.

Related Characters: Shelly (speaker), Dodge, Halie, Bradley, Vince
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

Shelly makes this speech at a point in the play when her behavior has dramatically shifted. While she came to the house as a playful and rather timid person, after spending a day with the family she has become assertive, aggressive, and even violent. In the scene leading up to this she has shouted, hurled a cup against the wall to attract attention, and kidnapped Bradley's false leg. Though her behavior has begun to mirror the chaos of the family, she is the one character that doesn't drift towards its illusions. Shelly knows that something is deeply wrong, and she begins to call them out on it here, which will lead to her extracting the full story of the buried child.

Shelly has been, throughout the play, an embodiment of disillusionment with the American Dream, and in this speech she explains to the family that they are nothing like the people she thought they would be. This is an extrapolation of the theme that American expectations about family life are unrealistic and even toxic. The theme of the American Dream is inextricable from the family's chaos; the family dynamic Shepard portrays is an example of the brew of disappointment and delusion (from Halie in particular) the myth of the American Dream can produce.

…Halie had this kid. This baby boy. She had it. I let her have it on her own. All the other boys I had had the best doctors, best nurses, everything. This one I let her have by herself. This one hurt real bad. Almost killed her, but she had it anyway. It lived, see. It lived. It wanted to grow up in this family. It wanted to be just like us. It wanted to be part of us. It wanted to pretend that I was its father. She wanted me to believe in it. Even when everyone around us knew. Everyone. All our boys knew. Tilden knew… I killed it. I drowned it. Just like the runt of a litter. Just drowned it.

Related Characters: Dodge (speaker), Halie, Tilden, Shelly, The Baby / Buried Child
Page Number: 109-110
Explanation and Analysis:

This is the climax of the play, in which Dodge tells Shelly the story of the buried child. Dodge seems to do this in part because Shelly has goaded him into it, and in part because he wants to shock Shelly. He seems to relish it when she tells him she isn't sure if she wants to know, and the thought of scaring her seems to push him ultimately into revealing the secret. In Dodge's recounting he does not omit his own cruelty--he dwells on it, in fact, talking about how he allowed Halie to almost die having her incestuous child without doctors. This shows the ways in which Dodge has partly brought about the family's downfall by being so vengeful and possessive. He goes on to blame Tilden's love for the child for Dodge's decision to kill it, stating that "it made everything we'd accomplished look like nothing." This is another instance of Shepard revealing the toxicity of the American Dream, in which the ideal of the perfect nuclear family of successful parents and children leads to more dysfunction than if people had honest expectations about family life. Dodge implies that he killed the child because it was the one thing he felt didn't fit in with their perfect life (which seems to be an idealized memory in itself). Ironically, this murder, more than anything else (like the birth of the child itself), is what actually throws the family into chaos.

Good hard rain. Takes everything straight down deep to the roots. The rest takes care of itself. You can’t force a thing to grow. You can’t interfere with it. It’s all hidden. It’s all unseen. You just gotta wait til it pops up out of the ground. Tiny little shoot. Tiny little white shoot. All hairy and fragile. Strong though. Strong enough to break the earth even. It’s a miracle, Dodge. I’ve never seen a crop like this in my whole life. Maybe it’s the sun. Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s the sun.

Related Characters: Halie (speaker), Dodge
Related Symbols: Rain, Vegetables
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

This is the passage that concludes the play, and, for a work of such dark and fatalistic themes, it is a surprisingly optimistic conclusion. By this point the family secret is out in the open (partially marked by each family member's sudden ability to see the vegetables growing in the backyard). As Halie speaks this monologue, Tilden comes onstage carrying the bones of the buried child, which he has apparently dug up from the yard. Though it is grotesque imagery, the return of the body to the house symbolizes a restoration of honesty for the family, and the end of a secret that has created torment and suffering for a long time. That Halie, the character most wedded to the family's illusions about itself, gives this optimistic monologue about life and rebirth suggests to the audience that the family is benefiting from having finally dealt with the trauma of their past. 

Throughout the play the vegetables growing in the yard have represented the family's secrets, and the rain has represented the relentless pressure to bring the secrets into the open. With the sun shining and the family realizing that the yard is fertile once again, the audience is left to conclude that some real progress has been made. 

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Halie Character Timeline in Buried Child

The timeline below shows where the character Halie appears in Buried Child. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Dodge attempts to suppress a cough, but his wife Halie hears him, and she calls to him from upstairs, suggesting that Dodge take some medicine.... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Halie again tells Dodge to take a pill for his cough. She wonders aloud whether taking... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Halie advises Dodge not to watch any television programs that will get him excited, such as... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Halie lets Dodge know that she is going out to meet the minister Father Dewis for... (full context)
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
...fields out back. Dodge insists that there hasn’t been corn out back since 1935, and Halie’s voice confirms this from upstairs. (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
...lap. Dodge asks Tilden if he’s in some kind of trouble. He tells Tilden that Halie has already told him about some mysterious incident in New Mexico that has landed Tilden... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
From upstairs, Halie calls out to Dodge that Tilden should not be drinking anything. Unaware that Tilden can... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Halie goes on to admit that once Tilden and Bradley exposed themselves as failures, she placed... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Halie, completely absorbed in her story, explains that Father Dewis wants to recommend to the city... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
Halie finally comes out of her reverie, and angrily notices the husks on the floor of... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
Dodge reprimands Halie for upsetting Tilden, but Halie warns the men that they’d better clean up the mess... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
As Tilden begins to head out back again—against Halie and Dodge’s wishes—Dodge has another violent coughing fit. Tilden gets him some water, and Dodge... (full context)
Act 2
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
...comes downstairs, but Dodge is confused and does not recognize him. When Vince asks after Halie, Dodge responds by saying that she won’t be back for days. Dodge also reveals that... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
...and walk toward Tilden, but he falls. Tilden continues to tell Shelly that not even Halie or Bradley know where the corpse of the baby is buried. Meanwhile Shelly moves to... (full context)
Act 3
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Shelly tells Dodge that she slept in Halie’s room, where she observed the family’s history in photos, as well as crosses on the... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
...photograph depicting the whole family standing on a farm full of corn and wheat, with Halie holding a baby. Shelly says that Halie looks lost in the photo. (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Shelly and Dodge hear the sounds of Halie and Father Dewis on the porch. Dodge begs Shelly to stay and protect him. He... (full context)
Religion Theme Icon
Father Dewis jokes that deep down, he and Halie know they are “every bit as wicked as the Catholics.” Halie and Dewis flirt as... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
Embarrassed, Halie tries to clean up in the living room by taking the fur coat off of... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Halie asks Father Dewis, who is at a loss for words, for advice on how to... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Halie finds the whiskey and drinks it in front of Dodge as she claims that a... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
Not allowing anyone to get a word in, Halie continues to drink and lament the deterioration of society and its values. Dewis reminds Halie... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Shelly finally interjects that she came to the house with Vince, and Halie does not seem to immediately recognize that Vince is her grandson. As Shelly continues to... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
As Halie laments the state of the family, Bradley steals the blanket back from Dodge, causing a... (full context)
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When Halie threatens to call the police, Bradley implores her not to, and Shelly chides the family... (full context)
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Rituals Theme Icon
Despite protestations from Halie and Bradley, Dodge recounts how Halie had a baby, and apparently the child was Tilden’s.... (full context)
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Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
...takes empty liquor bottles from a paper bag and smashes them while singing. Dodge and Halie finally seem to recognize him as their grandson, but in his drunken state Vince cannot... (full context)
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Vince’s drunken behavior continues on the porch, and when Halie asks Dewis for help, Dewis says that he’s outside of his parish. Dewis invites Halie... (full context)
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...of the room, and Bradley crawls to retrieve it. Dewis urges Vince to go see Halie, but Vince tells Dewis that they are the only two in the house, and that... (full context)
Family and Its Demise Theme Icon
Failure and the American Dream Theme Icon
The Presence of the Past Theme Icon
Rituals Theme Icon
Religion Theme Icon
From upstairs, we hear Halie calling out for Dodge, telling him that Tilden was right, and that the field is... (full context)