August: Osage County

by

Tracy Letts

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Mattie Fae Aiken Character Analysis

Violet’s younger sister. Mattie Fae is boisterous and funny, but, like her sister, has a strong cruel streak. Mattie Fae’s meanness is mainly focused on her only son, Little Charles, who at thirty-seven seems to be in a perpetual state of arrested development. Mattie Fae is relentless in her criticisms of Little Charles, and the source of her unending disappointment in him is eventually revealed to stem from her own guilt and self-loathing over the fact that Little Charles is actually Beverly’s illegitimate son.

Mattie Fae Aiken Quotes in August: Osage County

The August: Osage County quotes below are all either spoken by Mattie Fae Aiken or refer to Mattie Fae Aiken. 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 1, Scene 1 Quotes

CHARLIE: Ivy. Let me ask you something. When did this start? This business with the shades, taping the shades?

IVY: That’s been a couple of years now.

MATTIE FAE: My gosh, has it been that long since we’ve been here?

CHARLIE: Do you know its purpose?

MATTIE FAE: You can’t tell if it’s night or day.

IVY: I think that’s the purpose.

Related Characters: Charlie Aiken (speaker), Ivy Weston, Mattie Fae Aiken
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

BARBARA: Three days ago … I had to identify my father’s corpse. And now I sit here and listen to you viciously attack each and every member of this family—

VIOLET: “Attack my family”?! You ever been attacked in your sweet spoiled life?! Tell her ‘bout attacks, Mattie Fae, tell her what an attack looks like!

MATTIE FAE: Vi, please—

IVY: Settle down, Mom—

VIOLET: Stop telling me to settle down, goddamn it! I’m not a goddamn invalid! I don’t need to be abided, do I?! Am I already passed over?!

MATTIE FAE: Honey—

VIOLET: (Points to Mattie Fae.) This woman came to my rescue when one of my dear mother’s many gentlemen friends was attacking me, with a claw hammer! This woman has dents in her skull from hammer blows! You think you been attacked?! What do you know about life on these Plains? What do you now about hard times?

BARBARA: I know you had a rotten childhood, Mom. Who didn’t?

VIOLET: You DON'T know! You do NOT know! None of you know, 'cept this woman right here and that man we buried today! Sweet girl, sweet Barbara, my heart breaks for every time you ever felt pain. I wish I coulda shielded you from it. But if you think for a solitary second you can fathom the paint that man endured in his natural life, you got another think coming.

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Mattie Fae Aiken (speaker)
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

CHARLIE: I don’t understand this meanness. I look at you and your sister and the way you talk to people and I don’t understand it. I just can’t understand why folks can’t be respectful of one another. I don’t think there’s any excuse for it. My family didn’t treat each other that way.

MATTIE FAE: Well maybe that’s because your family is a—

CHARLIE: You had better not say anything about my family right now. I mean it. We buried a man today I loved very much. And whatever faults he may have had, he was a good, kind, decent person. And to hear you tear into your own son on a day like today dishonors Beverly’s memory. We’ve been married for thirty-eight years. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But if you can’t find a generous place in your heart for your own son, we’re not going to make it to thirty-nine.

Related Characters: Mattie Fae Aiken (speaker), Charlie Aiken (speaker), Beverly Weston, Little Charles Aiken
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

MATTIE FAE: Y’know, I’m not proud of this.

BARBARA: Really. You people amaze me. What, were you drunk? Was this just some—?

MATTIE FAE: I wasn’t drunk, no. Maybe it’s hard for you to believe, looking at me, knowing me the way you do, all these years. I know to you, I’m just your old fat Aunt Mattie Fae. But I’m more than that, sweetheart … there’s more to me than that. Charlie’s right, of course. As usual. I don’t know why Little Charles is such a disappointment to me. Maybe he … well, I don’t know why. I guess I’m disappointed for him, more than anything. I made a mistake, a long time ago. Well, okay. Fair enough. I’ve paid for it. But the mistake ends here.

BARBARA: If Ivy found out about this, it would destroy her.

MATTIE FAE: I’m sure as hell not gonna tell her. You have to find a way to stop it. You have to put a stop to it.
BARBARA: Why me?

MATTIE FAE: You said you were running things.

Related Characters: Barbara Fordham (speaker), Mattie Fae Aiken (speaker), Ivy Weston, Charlie Aiken, Little Charles Aiken
Page Number: 84-85
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 5 Quotes

IVY: Why did you tell me? Why in God’s name did you tell me this?

VIOLET: Hey, what do you care?

IVY: You’re monsters.

VIOLET: Come on now—

IVY: Picking the bones of the rest of us—

VIOLET: You crazy nut.

IVY: Monsters.

VIOLET: Who’s the injured party here? (Ivy staggers out of the dining room, into the living room. Barbara pursues her.)

BARBARA: Ivy, listen—

Ivy: Leave me alone!

BARBARA: Honey—

IVY: I won’t let you do this to me!

BARBARA: When Mattie Fae told me, I didn’t know what to do—

IVY: I won’t let you change my story! (Ivy exits. Barbara chases after her and catches her on the front porch.)
BARBARA: Goddamn it, listen to me: I tried to protect you—

IVY: We’ll go anyway. We’ll still go away, and you will never see me again.

BARBARA: Don’t leave me like this.

IVY: You will never see me again.

BARBARA: This is not my fault. I didn’t tell you. Mom told you. It wasn’t me, it was Mom.

IVY: There’s no difference.

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Ivy Weston (speaker), Mattie Fae Aiken, Little Charles Aiken
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire August: Osage County LitChart as a printable PDF.
August: Osage County PDF

Mattie Fae Aiken Character Timeline in August: Osage County

The timeline below shows where the character Mattie Fae Aiken appears in August: Osage County. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Ivy, Mattie Fae , and Charlie sit in the living room. Ivy is Beverly and Violet’s daughter; Mattie... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...and Ivy replies that she believes her parents have stopped trying to repair their marriage. Mattie Fae adds that Beverly is a complicated man. Charlie compares Beverly’s seriousness to that of Little... (full context)
Addiction Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Mattie Fae changes the subject, complaining that it’s so hot inside the house she’s sweating. Charlie laments... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Mattie Fae greets Bill, Barbara, and Jean enthusiastically. Mattie Fae remarks on how big Jean has gotten,... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
...seems intent on attending to it now. Bill assures Violet he’ll sort everything out soon. Mattie Fae and Charlie announce that they are going to leave and drive the hour and a... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Upstairs, Violet, Mattie Fae , and Ivy—who is dressed in a black suit—look through a box of old photographs.... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...attract a man. Ivy replies that she already has a man, shocking both Violet and Mattie Fae , who immediately start asking her who her “man” is. Ivy says she’s not telling... (full context)
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...about how she just showed Steve their old fort, Little Charles attempts to apologize to Mattie Fae for missing the funeral, and Ivy fights off Violet’s persistent inquiries into the state of... (full context)
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...family passes food around and makes their plates, Little Charles enters. Almost immediately, he drops Mattie Fae ’s casserole. She screams at him, but Charlie urges her to “let it go.” Charlie... (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 Barbara has never been truly attacked once in her “sweet spoiled life.” She urges Mattie Fae to tell Barbara what a real attack looks like. Mattie Fae attempts to quiet her... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...to set his alarm clock for this morning, and then goes out to the porch. Mattie Fae says she gave up on Little Charles a long time ago. Ivy quietly says that... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Addiction Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...removed. Karen, Barbara, and Ivy sit in the study, drinking a bottle of whiskey. Charlie, Mattie Fae , Jean, and Steve play cards in the dining room while Bill sorts through paperwork... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...He plays her a love song he’s written for her. In the middle of it, Mattie Fae and Charlie walk into the room and break the spell. She tells Little Charles to... (full context)
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Charlie tries to get Mattie Fae to quit picking on Little Charles, but she will not stop. Charlie raises his voice,... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Charlie tells Mattie Fae that he can’t understand her meanness. He is baffled by the way both Mattie Fae... (full context)
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Mattie Fae sees Barbara standing in the doorway. Barbara apologizes for eavesdropping, insisting she simply froze when... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Mattie Fae tells a shocked Barbara that Little Charles is not Barbara and Ivy’s cousin, but rather... (full context)
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Barbara warns Mattie Fae that Ivy will be “destroy[ed]” by this information if it ever reaches her. Mattie Fae... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...to Violet, but Violet keeps talking. She reveals she knew the whole time Beverly and Mattie Fae were having an affair, and says that Beverly “tore himself up” over Little Charles’s true... (full context)
Addiction Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
...follows Ivy into the living room, begging Ivy to listen to her. She reveals that Mattie Fae told her the truth earlier, but she didn’t know what to do with what she’d... (full context)
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Barbara expresses her surprise at the fact that Violet always knew about Mattie Fae and Beverly. Violet says that though she’s never told either of them she knew about... (full context)