Buried Child

by

Sam Shepard

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Buried Child Characters

Dodge

A farmer now in his seventies, Dodge is the central character and sickly patriarch of the family. His once-prosperous farm is now barren and rundown, and he is an alcoholic invalid who tries to hide… read analysis of Dodge

Halie

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… read analysis of Halie

Tilden

A man in his forties, Tilden is the eldest son of Dodge and Halie. He was a former all-American football player, but is now “burned out,” “profoundly displaced,” and seems to be mentally ill… read analysis of Tilden

Bradley

The other son of Dodge and Halie, and about five years younger than Tilden. Bradley is an amputee with a wooden leg—he supposedly cut his leg off with a chainsaw by accident. He… read analysis of Bradley

Vince

A young man in his early twenties, and Tilden’s son by an unknown mother. Vince and his girlfriend Shelly stop by the farm unannounced, as Vince is apparently looking to reconnect with Tilden. When… read analysis of Vince
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Shelly

Vince’s girlfriend, a young woman in her early twenties. At first she looks forward to meeting Vince’s family, as she imagines them to be quaint and romantic country folk. She is then spooked by… read analysis of Shelly

Father Dewis

A protestant minister in his sixties. Halie speaks highly of him in act one, but when we meet him in act three, he is drunk, ineffectual, and lecherous. It’s implied that he’s having an affair… read analysis of Father Dewis

Ansel

Ansel is the third son of Dodge and Halie, and never appears onstage. Ansel dies decades before the events of the play. Halie remembers him as a model son, although the circumstances surrounding his… read analysis of Ansel

The Baby / Buried Child

Sometime before Ansel’s death, but before Vince’s birth, Halie and Tilden had a child together. Dodge murdered this baby and buried it somewhere unknown, and the family has kept the secret for decades… read analysis of The Baby / Buried Child