August: Osage County

by

Tracy Letts

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Johnna Monevata Character Analysis

A Native American woman from the Cheyenne tribe who is hired to be Beverly and Violet Weston’s live-in housekeeper. Despite the difficult emotional demands of the job she has accepted, Johnna quickly becomes a mostly silent but steadfast participant in the lives—and the dramas—of the Weston clan, intervening when she is most needed to protect, defend, and support the very damaged people she has signed on to care for. Though Johnna is often a victim of Violet’s verbal abuse and harsh language, she is the only one left, in the end, to comfort Violet in her moment of deepest sorrow and defeat.

Johnna Monevata Quotes in August: Osage County

The August: Osage County quotes below are all either spoken by Johnna Monevata or refer to Johnna Monevata. 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:
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Theatre Communications Group edition of August: Osage County published in 2008.
Prologue Quotes

BEVERLY: The facts are: My wife takes pills and I drink. And these facts have over time made burdensome the maintenance of traditional American routine: paying of bills, purchase of goods, cleaning of clothes or carpets or crappers. Rather than once more assume the mantle of guilt … vow abstinence with my fingers crossed in the queasy hope of righting our ship, I’ve chosen to turn my life over to a Higher Power … and join the ranks of the Hiring Class.

Related Characters: Beverly Weston (speaker), Violet Weston, Johnna Monevata
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 3 Quotes

BARBARA: One of the last times I spoke with my father, we were talking about … I don’t know, the state of the world, something … and he said, “You know, this country was always pretty much a whorehouse, but at least it used to have some promise. Now it’s just a shithole.” And I think now maybe he was talking about something else, something more specific, something more personal to him … this house? This family? His marriage? Himself? I don’t know. But there was something sad in his voice—or no, not sad, he always sounded sad—something more hopeless than that. As if it had already happened. As if whatever was disappearing had already disappeared. As if it was too late. As if it was already over. And no one saw it go. This country, this experiment, America, this hubris: what a lament, if no one saw it go. Here today, gone tomorrow. (Beat.) Dissipation is actually much worse than cataclysm.

Related Characters: Barbara Fordham (speaker), Beverly Weston, Johnna Monevata
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
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August: Osage County PDF

Johnna Monevata Character Timeline in August: Osage County

The timeline below shows where the character Johnna Monevata appears in August: Osage County. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...his office. He is drunk, and he nurses a glass of whiskey as he interviews Johnna Monevata, a young Native American woman he hopes to hire as a housekeeper. He rambles... (full context)
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...the house, Beverly’s wife Violet can be heard muttering, cursing, and stumbling around. Off of Johnna’s confused look, Beverly explains that his wife takes pills, while he himself drinks—this is the... (full context)
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Beverly notices Johnna sweating, and offers her a handkerchief to wipe her brow. He apologizes for the temperature... (full context)
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...a cigarette, mumbling, and asking if the police are at the house. When she sees Johnna, she expresses surprise that there is a woman in the house. Violet’s speech is slurred... (full context)
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
After Violet exits, Beverly reminds Johnna that he has only called her because Violet’s doctor, Dr. Burke, specifically recommended Johnna as... (full context)
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Beverly tells Johnna that he himself needs very little help or attention—the bulk of the job will be... (full context)
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Beverly takes a long gulp of his drink and tells Johnna that Violet is in denial about her addiction to pharmaceuticals. She tried to quit once... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 1
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...an office full of paperwork and a “stranger in [her] house” in the form of Johnna, who started just one week ago. (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
...that there’s an “Indian who lives in [the] attic.” Barbara, confused, asks Violet to explain. Johnna enters the room, introducing herself and welcoming Barbara home. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
...in the days leading up to Beverly’s departure, Violet does admit that Beverly only hired Johnna a few days before he left. She complains about having a stranger—an “Indian” stranger—in her... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Upstairs, Jean goes into the attic, where Johnna is reading. She greets Johnna and offers her some marijuana. Johnna declines. Jean asks if... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Jean asks Johnna about her own parents, and Johnna tells Jean they are dead. Jean apologizes for bringing... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Later that night, red and blue police lights flash through the living room. Johnna appears downstairs, and gently wakes Barbara. She tells Barbara that the sheriff is at the... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Bill lets the sheriff in, and Barbara and Johnna return downstairs. As the sheriff steps into the room, Barbara recognizes him as Deon Gilbeau—someone... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Johnna brings a pitcher of iced tea from the kitchen. Barbara is grateful for it—she is... (full context)
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Johnna announces that dinner is ready, and the entire family makes their way to the dining... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...the kids’ table, has gone to retrieve a casserole his mother made from the car. Johnna volunteers to sit at the kids’ table, insisting she doesn’t mind. (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
...Barbara says she is “not prepared” to talk about taking her parents’ furniture. Everyone compliments Johnna on the delicious meal—Violet, slurring her words, says that it’s what Johnna’s being paid for. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...of moaning and heavy breathing can be heard. After a moment, the light clicks back on—Johnna is standing in the entryway from the kitchen, holding a cast-iron skillet. Jean and Steve... (full context)
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
...into the room, alarmed, and goes straight to Steve. She asks him what happened, but Johnna answers for him, telling Karen that Steve was messing with Jean. Karen, though, is only... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
In the dining room, Barbara, Bill, Jean, and Johnna reckon with what has just happened. Barbara and Bill tell Jean to take them step-by-step... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...she hates her, too, and Jean runs away. Bill follows Jean out of the room. Johnna excuses herself and returns to the attic. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Barbara and Johnna sit in the study, in the same positions that Beverly and Johnna sat in during... (full context)
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Johnna asks Barbara if she is firing her. Barbara insists that she’s not—rather, she’s giving Johnna... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Barbara finishes her whiskey and asks what Beverly and Johnna talked about. Johnna says that Beverly talked a lot about his daughters, and his granddaughter,... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Johnna brings dinner in from the kitchen—she has made catfish. After she exits once again, Ivy... (full context)
Addiction Theme Icon
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Violet walks into the room, and Barbara calls for Johnna to bring Violet a plate. Violet insists she isn’t hungry, but Barbara tells her that... (full context)
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...onto the floor. Violet then throws her plate to the floor, too. Barbara calls for Johnna to come clean up a “little spill” in the dining room. Ivy begins to tell... (full context)
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Violet calls for Johnna, and then goes to the stairway. She begins crawling up on all fours, calling for... (full context)