August: Osage County

by

Tracy Letts

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Violet Weston Character Analysis

Beverly’s wife, and the matriarch of the Weston clan. A cruel and emotionally abusive narcotics addict, Violet has already begun to spiral out of control before Beverly’s disappearance. Recently diagnosed with mouth cancer, Violet manipulates the doctors treating her into prescribing her pills, and grows more and more unstable throughout the play as a result of her addiction. Violet controls and manipulates more people than just her doctors: she verbally intimidates her sister Mattie Fae, her housekeeper Johnna, and her middle daughter Ivy into submission. She attempts to bring her eldest daughter Barbara under her control as well through their back-and-forth power struggle, which comprises much of the play’s second act. By Act Three, Violet has announced her intention to get clean, but wants to do so on her own, without anyone’s help or influence. Whether or not she winds up kicking her dependency on drugs is left unresolved; by the end of the play, though, it is clear that Violet has either reverted to old habits or been left so confused and brain-damaged by her years of drug abuse that she is unable to make heads or tails of her surroundings. In the end, Violet winds up alone and despondent, having driven Ivy and Barbara away and alienated everyone else she cared about, even if she only cared about them because they fed her sense of power and control.

Violet Weston Quotes in August: Osage County

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

BARBARA: Goddamn, it’s hot.

BILL: Wimp.

BARBARA: I know it. Colorado spoiled me.

BILL: That’s one of the reasons we got out of here.

BARARA: No, it’s not.

BILL: You suppose your mom’s turned on the air conditioner?

BARBARA: Are you kidding? Remember the parakeets?

BILL: The parakeets.

BARBARA: I didn’t tell you about the parakeets? She got a parakeet, for some insane reason, and the little fucker croaked after about two days. So she went to the pet store and raised hell and they gave her another parakeet. That one died after just one day. So she went back and they gave her a third parakeet and that one died, too. So the chick from the per store came out here to see just what in hell this serial parakeet killer was doing to bump off these birds.

BILL: And?

BARBARA: The heat. It was too hot. They were dying from the heat.

Related Characters: Barbara Fordham (speaker), Bill Fordham (speaker), Violet Weston
Related Symbols: Heat
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

VIOLET: [Beverly] just told me he’s disappointed in you because you settled.

BARBARA: Is that supposed to be a comment on Bill? Daddy never said anything like that to you—

VIOLET: Your father thought you had talent, as a writer.

BARBARA: If he thought that, and I doubt he did, he was wrong. Anyway, what difference does it make? It’s my life. I can do what I want. So he was disappointed in me because I settled for a beautiful family and a teaching career, is that what you’re saying? What a load of absolute horseshit.

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Beverly Weston, Bill Fordham
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

VIOLET: I’m not hooked on anything.

BARBARA: I don’t know if you are or not, I’m just saying I won’t go—

VIOLET: I’m not. I’m in pain.

BARBARA: Because of your mouth.

VIOLET: Yes, because my mouth burns from the chemotheeeahh.

BARBARA: Are you in a lot of pain?

VIOLET: (Starting to cry.) Yes, I’m in pain. I have got... gotten cancer. In my mouth. And it burns like a … bullshit. And Beverly’s disappeared and you’re yelling at me.

BARBARA: I’m not yelling at you.

VIOLET: You couldn’t come home when I got cancer but as soon as Beverly disappeared you rushed back—

BARBARA: I’m sorry. I … you’re right. I’m sorry. (Violet cries. Barbara kneels in front of her, takes her hand.) You know where I think he is? I think he got some whiskey…a carton of cigarettes, couple of good spy novels… aannnd I think he got out on the boat, steered it to a nice spot, somewhere in the shade, close to shore…and he’s fishing, and reading, and drinking, and if the mood strikes him, maybe even writing a little. I think he’s safe. And I think he’ll walk through that door…any time.

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Beverly Weston
Page Number: 33-34
Explanation and Analysis:
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: 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:

VIOLET: Do you know where your father lived from age four ‘til about ten? Do you? (No one responds) Do you?!

BARBARA: No.

IVY: No.

VIOLET: In a Pontiac sedan. With his mother, his father, in a fucking car! Now what else do you want to say about your rotten childhood? That’s the crux of the biscuit: We lived too hard, then rose too high. We sacrificed everything and we did it all for you. Your father and I were the first in our families to finish high school and he wound up an award-winning poet. You girls, given a college education, taken for granted no doubt, and where'd you wind up? (Jabs a finger at Karen.) Whadda you do? (Jabs a finger at Ivy.) Whadda you do? (Jabs a finger at Barbara.) Who're you? Jesus, you worked as hard as us, you'd all be president. You never had real problems so you got to make all your problems yourselves.

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Ivy Weston (speaker)
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

BARBARA: You’re a drug addict.

VIOLET: That is the truth! That’s what I’m getting at! I, everybody listen … I am a drug addict. I am addicted to drugs, pills, ‘specially downers. (Pulls a bottle of pills from her pocket, holds them up.) Y’see these little blue babies? These are my best fucking friends and they never let me down. Try to get ‘em away from me and I’ll eat you alive.

BARBARA: Gimme those goddamn pills—

VIOLET: I’ll eat you alive, girl!

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker)
Page Number: 72
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 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:

VIOLET. You had better understand this, you smug little ingrate, there is at least one reason Beverly killed himself and that's you. Think there’s any way he would’ve done what he did if you were still here? No, just him and me, here in this house, in the dark, left to just ourselves, abandoned, wasted lifetimes devoted to your care and comfort. So stick that knife of judgment in me, go ahead, but make no mistake, his blood is just as much on your hands as it is on mine. (No response. Violet enters the study. Barbara follows.) He did this, though; this was his doing, nor ours. Can you imagine anything more cruel, to make me responsible? And why, just to weaken me, just to make me prove my character? So no, I waited, I waited so I could get my hands on that safety deposit box, but I would have waited anyway. You want to show who's stronger Bev? Nobody is stronger than me, goddamn it. When nothing is left, when everything is gone and disappeared, I'll be here. Who’s stronger now, you son-of-a-bitch?!

BARBARA. No, you're right, Mom. You're the strong one. (Barbara kisses her mother… exits the study, returns to the living room.)

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Barbara Fordham (speaker), Beverly Weston
Page Number: 100-101
Explanation and Analysis:

VIOLET. Barbara? (Barbara grabs her purse, digs out rental car keys.) Barbara? (Barbara stands, listens to her mother.) Barbara, please. (Barbara exits the house.) Please, Barbara. Please. (Violet shuffles into the living room.) Barbara? You in here? (She crosses to the dining room.) Ivy? Ivy, you here? Barb? (She crosses to the kitchen.) Barb? Ivy? (She turns in a circle, disoriented, panicked. She crosses to the study.) Bev? (She reenters the living room, stumbles to the stereo, puts on Clapton ... stares at the turntable as the album spins ... attacks the record player, rakes the needle across the album. She looks around, terrified, disoriented.)

Related Characters: Violet Weston (speaker), Beverly Weston, Barbara Fordham, Ivy Weston
Related Symbols: “Lay Down, Sally”
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
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August: Osage County PDF

Violet Weston Character Timeline in August: Osage County

The timeline below shows where the character Violet Weston appears in August: Osage County. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
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Elsewhere in the house, Beverly’s wife Violet can be heard muttering, cursing, and stumbling around. Off of Johnna’s confused look, Beverly explains... (full context)
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Violet comes into the room, smoking a cigarette, mumbling, and asking if the police are at... (full context)
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After Violet exits, Beverly reminds Johnna that he has only called her because Violet’s doctor, Dr. Burke,... (full context)
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...himself needs very little help or attention—the bulk of the job will be attending to Violet, who has been diagnosed with cancer and needs to be driven back and forth from... (full context)
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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 before, but... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 1
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Ivy, Mattie Fae, and Charlie sit in the living room. Ivy is Beverly and Violet’s daughter; Mattie Fae is Violet’s sister, and Charlie is Mattie Fae’s husband. Mattie Fae drinks... (full context)
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Violet enters—she has just gotten off the phone with the sheriff, who says that they have... (full context)
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Upstairs, Violet asks Ivy if she has called Barbara—her daughter, and Ivy’s sister—yet. Ivy says she did,... (full context)
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Ivy tells Violet she has called Karen—another sister—as well, and that Karen is going to try to come... (full context)
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Ivy asks Violet if her mouth is hurting, and Violet says she is in a lot of pain.... (full context)
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...to take a second and prepare. Barbara complains about the heat. Bill asks Barbara if Violet has gotten an air conditioner yet. Barbara says there’s no way she has, and then... (full context)
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...breasts—the last time Mattie Fae saw Jean, she recalls, Jean looked like a “little boy.” Violet comes down the stairs and bursts into tears when she sees Barbara. She runs into... (full context)
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Violet pulls Barbara and Bill into the living room, and asks them to help her with... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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Barbara, Bill, and Violet sit in the dining room drinking coffee and eating pie. Violet is filling the two... (full context)
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Barbara asks Violet why Violet was concerned about the box—Violet reveals that she and Beverly had an arrangement... (full context)
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Bill asks if there was any trigger or catalyst for Beverly’s departure, but Violet says that there wasn’t. Barbara sarcastically applauds her “good old unfathomable dad.” When Bill presses... (full context)
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Violet changes the subject, asking Barbara when she was last in Oklahoma—she says she herself can’t... (full context)
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Violet tells Barbara that Beverly’s “blessing” was false—behind her back, Beverly told Violet that he was... (full context)
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Barbara asks Violet if Violet is high; Violet says she isn’t, though she very clearly is. Barbara tells... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
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Bill comments that Violet has “a way of putting [Barbara] in attack mode.” Barbara insists that her mother doesn’t... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
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...Bill and Barbara scramble out of bed, and Barbara goes upstairs with Johnna to wake Violet. They knock on Violet’s door, telling her the sheriff has come—Violet’s slurred and incoherent responses... (full context)
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Down in the study, Sheriff Gilbeau is waiting for Barbara to get ready. Violet enters shakily, still in her pajamas. She speaks in nonsensical half-sentences, slurring her words. Eventually... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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...It is three o’ clock in the afternoon, and Beverly Weston has just been buried. Violet is standing in the study in a black dress. She is sober, for the moment,... (full context)
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Upstairs, Violet, Mattie Fae, and Ivy—who is dressed in a black suit—look through a box of old... (full context)
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Violet goes to her closet and gets a dress for Ivy to try on. Ivy refuses... (full context)
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...Charles attempts to apologize to Mattie Fae for missing the funeral, and Ivy fights off Violet’s persistent inquiries into the state of her romantic life.  (full context)
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Back in the dining room, everyone but Violet, Little Charles, and Ivy is seated at the table. The men have removed their suit... (full context)
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Violet tells Barbara to say grace in Beverly’s absence, but Barbara insists that Charlie, now the... (full context)
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Violet, pointing out the sideboard, asks Barbara if she wants it—she tells Barbara, as she told... (full context)
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...you eat an animal, you “ingest [its] fear,” but everyone just makes fun of her. Violet, misquoting a famous T.V. commercial, begins screeching “Where’s the meat?” Everyone freezes watching her, “stunned”... (full context)
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The conversation turns to the service. Everyone agrees that it was a nice funeral, but Violet insists there was too much talk about Beverly’s poetry and teaching. She tells a vile... (full context)
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When Karen reminds Violet that Steve is her fiancé, Violet remarks that it is “peculiar” of Karen to bring... (full context)
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Karen attempts to change the subject, telling Violet about how she took Steve out to see the fort where she, Barbara, and Ivy... (full context)
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After an awkward silence, Violet asks Bill if he has found any “hidden treasure” in Beverly’s office. Bill reveals that... (full context)
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Little Charles attempts to ask Bill about the poems he found, but Violet interrupts and asks Bill where he’s living, and whether he wants the sideboard—she has intuited... (full context)
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Charlie asks Violet why she’s being so “adversarial,” but she insists she’s just telling the truth. Barbara admonishes... (full context)
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Violet tells Barbara that her heart breaks for “every time [Barbara] ever felt pain,” but that... (full context)
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...Little Charles a long time ago. Ivy quietly says that his name is just Charles. Violet pats Ivy’s hand, calling her a “poor thing,” and lamenting how Ivy always roots for... (full context)
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Barbara tells Violet that she’s a drug addict. Joyfully, Violet shouts, “That is the truth!” She pulls a... (full context)
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Eventually, Barbara wrestles the pills away from a sobbing Violet. She announces that she is starting a pill raid and instructs Ivy and Bill to... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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...Steve play cards in the dining room while Bill sorts through paperwork on the porch. Violet is upstairs, looking out the window, her hair wrapped in a towel. Barbara and her... (full context)
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...one doctor would write so many prescriptions, but Ivy cuts her off, telling her that Violet is, and has been for a long time, seeing multiple doctors and securing various prescriptions... (full context)
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Barbara marvels at how earlier, at the doctor’s office, Violet was silent and wounded, like a “wilting hothouse flower.” Barbara felt that Violet was trying... (full context)
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Barbara asks Ivy if she feels “comfortable” leaving Violet alone here. Ivy admits that she doesn’t, but also doesn’t want to stick around to... (full context)
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Barbara tells Ivy that the other day, Violet told her she was Beverly’s favorite. Ivy says that’s not true—Ivy herself was Beverly’s favorite,... (full context)
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...trying to figure that out. Ivy tells Barbara that if Barbara is so concerned about Violet, she can stay in Oklahoma herself—Ivy is leaving, and nobody gets to point any fingers... (full context)
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Violet enters the room, shaky but lucid. The girls invite her in and ask her how... (full context)
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Violet begins telling her daughters a story. When she was thirteen or so, she had a... (full context)
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Barbara tells Violet that the story is so sad it’s making her “wish for a heartwarming claw hammer... (full context)
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Barbara asks Ivy and Karen to leave the room so that she can talk to Violet alone for a moment, and they oblige her. Barbara apologizes to Violet for losing her... (full context)
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Barbara asks Violet if she wants to check into a rehab center, but Violet insists she can get... (full context)
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...he can’t understand her meanness. He is baffled by the way both Mattie Fae and Violet talk to their own family and remarks that his family never treated one another so... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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...she wants to stay. She doesn’t to the job for Barbara, she says, or for Violet, but for herself, because she so badly needs the work. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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...dining room. Ivy is dressed, but Barbara is still in pajamas. Ivy asks Barbara if Violet is clean. Barbara says she is—“moderately.” Ivy says she’s nervous, and Barbara realizes that Ivy... (full context)
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...made catfish. After she exits once again, Ivy asks why Barbara thinks Ivy shouldn’t tell Violet the truth. Barbara tells Ivy she needs to rethink her entire relationship with Charles, before... (full context)
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Violet walks into the room, and Barbara calls for Johnna to bring Violet a plate. Violet... (full context)
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...that she can “break shit” too—she throws a vase off the sideboard onto the floor. Violet then throws her plate to the floor, too. Barbara calls for Johnna to come clean... (full context)
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Ivy, shocked and believing that Violet is delirious, tries to go ahead with her confession, but Violet is in her own... (full context)
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Ivy is devastated. Violet says it’s time the girls knew: they are getting older, and “never know when someone... (full context)
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Barbara, in a daze, reenters the house, where Violet is lighting a cigarette. She tells Barbara that they “couldn’t let” Ivy and Little Charles... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Barbara asks Violet what she means by “if [she] had reached him at the motel.” Violet admits to... (full context)
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Barbara asks Violet how she knew where Beverly was, and Violet answers blithely that Beverly left a note... (full context)
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Addiction Theme Icon
Barbara asks if Beverly’s note said, or implied, that he was planning on killing himself. Violet doesn’t answer at first. When Barbara presses her, she says only that if she’d had... (full context)
Parents, Children, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Patriarchy and American Memory Theme Icon
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Violet calls Barbara a “smug little ingrate” and tells her that one of the reasons Beverly... (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
Violet goes into the study, muttering about how Beverly did “this” to weaken her, and to... (full context)
Violence, Abuse, and Power Theme Icon
Familial Responsibility and Entrapment Theme Icon
Violet calls after Barbara and staggers through the house, pursuing her as Barbara collects her purse... (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... (full context)