Clybourne Park

by

Bruce Norris

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Betsy Linder Character Analysis

A white woman in her late twenties. She is married to Karl, and is the mother of Kathy. Betsy is pregnant, which causes Karl to treat her gently and carefully, both because of the pregnancy and because she had previously suffered a miscarriage. Betsy is deaf, but can read lips and communicate through sign language. She is able to speak, but it is sometimes difficult for the other characters to fully understand her. She is good-natured and seems to assume the best of the people around her. Betsy is played by the same actor who plays Lindsey in Act II.

Betsy Linder Quotes in Clybourne Park

The Clybourne Park quotes below are all either spoken by Betsy Linder or refer to Betsy Linder. 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:
Race and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of Clybourne Park published in 2011.
Act 1 Quotes

Karl: I think that you’d agree, I’m assuming, that in the world, there exist certain differences. Agreed?
Francine: What sort of difference?
Karl: That people live differently.
Francine: …Yes?
Karl: From one another.
Francine: I agree with that.
Karl: Different customs, different…well, different foods, even. And those diff—here’s a funny—my wife, Betsy, now, Betsy’s family happens to be Scandinavian, and on holidays they eat a thing known as lutefisk. And this is a dish, which I can tell you...is not to my liking at all. It’s...oh my goodness, let’s just say it’s gelatinous.

Related Characters: Karl Linder (speaker), Francine (speaker), Betsy Linder
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

Russ: If you honestly think I give a rat’s ass about the goddamn—
Jim: Okay. Okay.
Russ: —what, ya mean the community where every time I go for a haircut, where they all sit and stare like the goddamn grim reaper walked in the barber shop door? That community?
Karl: My wife is two weeks away from giving birth to a child.
Russ: Where, Bev stops at Gelman’s for a quart of milk and they look at her like she’s got the goddamn plague? That the community I’m supposed to be looking out for?

Related Characters: Russ Stoller (speaker), Karl Linder (speaker), Jim (speaker), Bev Stoller, Betsy Linder, Kenneth Stoller
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:
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Betsy Linder Character Timeline in Clybourne Park

The timeline below shows where the character Betsy Linder appears in Clybourne Park. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
...across the stage. It is clear the white couple living in the house, Russ and Bev Stoller , is in the process of moving out. (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...is coming over. She ignores the question and starts talking to Jim about Karl’s wife, Betsy, who is very pregnant. As they’re talking, Bev remembers her earlier question about the origin... (full context)
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...in the car. Bev tells him to bring her in, and Karl disappears to fetch Betsy. Russ takes this moment to cross from the staircase to the kitchen. He’s now wearing... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Karl and Betsy return. Betsy is visibly very pregnant, and Bev coos over her stomach. Betsy is deaf,... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Betsy jokes aloud that she’ll need an umbrella, and Bev is happy to understand the joke.... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...a shovel. He asks Bev about his work gloves but she ignores him. He acknowledges Betsy because she says hello to him, but ignores Karl. Albert and Francine enter through the... (full context)
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...deliver the tea. The second time Bev enters, Karl panics, worried something has happened to Betsy, but she’s fine. He asks Bev to make sure Betsy takes small, slow sips of... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Betsy and Bev go to the dining table where they communicate by writing on a pad... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Karl shares that he believes different groups of people have different customs, for example Betsy is Scandinavian, and eats a dish called lutefisk that he dislikes. Karl wonders if Francine... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...two argue back and forth about Karl’s right to speak before Karl, offended, finally leaves. Betsy, unable to keep up with the conversation, asks Karl what happened as they head outside. (full context)
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...an explosive monologue. Throughout, Karl tries to cut him off for the sake of pregnant Betsy, whom he tells to wait in the car (though she does not go). Russ questions... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...down, but Russ just swears at him. Karl is upset that Russ is cursing around Betsy, but Russ simply tells Betsy to “go fuck [her]self,” which she doesn’t understand.    (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...to punch him. Jim backs up and trips over a moving box. Karl, afraid for Betsy’s safety, sends her running out of the house to the car. (full context)