August: Osage County

by

Tracy Letts

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Karen Weston Character Analysis

The youngest of the Weston sisters. Karen is flighty and false; she seems to have a checkered past marked by many failed relationships and unspeakable mistakes. Karen is guarded about her personal history but eager to use the family reunion that takes place around Beverly’s funeral to prove to everyone how happy, fulfilled, and loved she is now that she has found her fiancé, Steve.

Karen Weston Quotes in August: Osage County

The August: Osage County quotes below are all either spoken by Karen Weston or refer to Karen Weston. 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.
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

KAREN: I guess what I’m telling you is that I’m finally happy. I’ve been really unhappy for most of my life, my adult life. I doubt you’ve been aware of that. I know our lives have led us apart, you, me and Ivy, and maybe we’re not as close as we … as close as some families—

BARBARA: Yeah, we really need to talk about Mom, what to do about Mom—

KAREN:—but I think at least one reason for that is that I haven’t wanted to live my unhappiness in full view of my family. But now I’m … well, I’m just really happy. And I’d really like us to maybe get to know each other a little better.

Related Characters: Barbara Fordham (speaker), Karen Weston (speaker), Violet Weston, Ivy Weston, Steve Heidebrecht
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

BARBARA: Okay. Pill raid. Johnna, help me in the kitchen. Bill, take Ivy and Jean upstairs. (To Ivy.) You remember how to do this, right?

IVY: Yeah…

BARBARA: (To Jean) Everything. Go through everything, every counter, every drawer, every shoe box. Nothing’s too personal. Anything even looks suspicious, throw it in a box and we can sort it out later. You understand?

CHARLIE: What should we do?

BARBARA: Get Mom some black coffee and a wet towel and listen to her bullshit. Karen, call Dr. Burke.

KAREN: What do you want me to say?

BARBARA: Tell him we got a sick woman here.

VIOLET: You can’t do this! This is my house! This is my house!

BARBARA: You don’t get it, do you? (With a burst of adrenaline, she strides to Violet, towers over her.) I’M RUNNING THINGS NOW!

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Ivy Weston (speaker), Karen Weston (speaker), Charlie Aiken (speaker), Jean Fordham
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

BARBARA: You might have told us [about the cancer].

IVY: You weren’t going to tell us about you and Bill.

BARBARA: That’s different.

IVY: Why? Because it’s you, and not me?

BARBARA: No, because divorce is an embarrassing public admission of defeat. Cancer’s fucking cancer, you can’t help that. We’re your sisters. We might have given you some comfort.

IVY: I just don’t feel that connection very keenly.

KAREN: I feel very connected, to both of you.

IVY: (Amused) We never see you, you’re never around, you haven’t been around for—

KAREN: But I still feel that connection!

IVY: You think if you tether yourself to this place in mind only, you don’t need to actually appear.

KAREN: You know me that well.

IVY: No, and that’s my point. I can’t perpetuate these myths of family or sisterhood anymore. We’re all just people, some of us accidentally connected by genetics, a random selection of cells. Nothing more.

Related Characters: Barbara Fordham (speaker), Ivy Weston (speaker), Karen Weston (speaker), Bill Fordham
Page Number: 76-77
Explanation and Analysis:

BARBARA: Aren’t you angry with him?

IVY: No. He’s accountable to no one but himself. If he’s better off now, and I don’t doubt he is, who are we to begrudge him that?

BARBARA: His daughters.

KAREN: Yeah—

BARBARA: And I’m fucking furious. The selfish son-of-a-bitch, his silence, his melancholy … he could have, for me, for us, for all of us, he could have helped us, included us, talked to us.

IVY: You might not have liked what you heard. What if the truth of the matter is that Beverly Weston never liked you? That he never liked any of us, never had any special feeling of any kind for his children?

Related Characters: Barbara Fordham (speaker), Ivy Weston (speaker), Karen Weston (speaker), Beverly Weston
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire August: Osage County LitChart as a printable PDF.
August: Osage County PDF

Karen Weston Character Timeline in August: Osage County

The timeline below shows where the character Karen Weston appears in August: Osage County. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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
Ivy tells Violet she has called Karen—another sister—as well, and that Karen is going to try to come to Oklahoma. Violet takes... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
In the dining room, Barbara and her sister Karen fold napkins and place them on the table. Karen babbles on and on about her... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...iced tea from the kitchen. Barbara is grateful for it—she is having a hot flash. Karen brings the conversation back to her own impending trip to Belize. She asks Barbara what... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
In the kitchen, Bill, Jean, and Karen’s boyfriend Steve are returning from a grocery run. Jean runs into the house and goes... (full context)
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Karen enters the room and asks Steve if he remembered to get cigarettes—he laments the fact... (full context)
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...the entire family makes their way to the dining room. Their conversations overlap with one another—Karen tells Barbara about how she just showed Steve their old fort, Little Charles attempts to... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
When Karen reminds Violet that Steve is her fiancé, Violet remarks that it is “peculiar” of Karen... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Karen attempts to change the subject, telling Violet about how she took Steve out to see... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...that he found out the Beverly appeared to be working on some new poems. Though Karen is interested in hearing more, Violet steers the conversation to Beverly’s will. She tells her... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...Ivy and Bill to go upstairs and start going through “everything” Violet owns. She orders Karen to call Dr. Burke and tell him that they have a “sick woman” on their... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Addiction Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
It is nighttime—the window shades have all been un-taped and removed. Karen, Barbara, and Ivy sit in the study, drinking a bottle of whiskey. Charlie, Mattie Fae,... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Karen asks why one doctor would write so many prescriptions, but Ivy cuts her off, telling... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Karen tells Barbara that she’s sorry to hear about her marital strife—she asks Barbara if she... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...anyway—she had a hysterectomy last year after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Barbara and Karen are both shocked by the revelation—Ivy says she told no one at the time but... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Barbara says that if Ivy had told them, she and Karen might have been able to offer her some comfort, but Ivy says she doesn’t feel... (full context)
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...not true—Ivy herself was Beverly’s favorite, and Barbara is Violet’s favorite. Barbara is shocked, and Karen is disgruntled to not be anyone’s favorite. Barbara counters that Violet told her that Beverly... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Karen, taking a stab at Ivy, tells Ivy that she must be taking Beverly’s suicide “kind... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
...was a mean woman, and she supposes that’s where she gets her own meanness from. Karen tells Violet she isn’t mean and kisses her on the cheek. (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Barbara asks Ivy and Karen to leave the room so that she can talk to Violet alone for a moment,... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
...the kitchen into the dining room. They are sharing a joint and both wearing pajamas. Karen is asleep in the living room on the hide-a-bed, and Bill is asleep on an... (full context)
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Karen rushes into the room, alarmed, and goes straight to Steve. She asks him what happened,... (full context)
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Barbara lunges for Steve, trying to attack him and threatening to murder him. Bill tells Karen to get Steve out of the house. Steve insists he didn’t do anything, and Jean... (full context)
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Barbara goes into the living room, where Karen is alone, putting the hide-a-bed away. Steve is already outside. Karen tells Barbara to spare... (full context)
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Barbara attempts to say something to Karen, but Karen interrupts her. She says she’s not defending Steve—she knows he’s not perfect, but... (full context)