Clybourne Park

by

Bruce Norris

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Kevin Character Analysis

A black man in his thirties. He is married to Lena, with whom he has three children. Although the couple occasionally bickers, he clearly loves his wife and rushes to her defense when she is insulted. Kevin is friendly and personable, with a good sense of humor, and tries his best to relate to Steve, Lindsey, and Kathy, unlike Lena, who criticizes him for his affability. Kevin is played by the same actor who plays Albert in Act I.

Kevin Quotes in Clybourne Park

The Clybourne Park quotes below are all either spoken by Kevin or refer to Kevin. 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 2 Quotes

Lindsey: Can I say? We talked about renovation. We discussed it. Because these houses are so charming and I know it’s a shame — but when you figure in the crack in the sub-floor and the cost of the lead abatement — and in a market like this one? It just made more sense to start from scratch.
Tom: Right. But: the Owners Association has a vested interest — Kevin and Lena call me up last month, they say Tom, we’ve got this problem, these people are planning to build a house that’s a full fifteen feet taller than all the adjacent structures…and I think we’d all agree that there’s a mutual benefit to maintaining the integrity — the architectural integrity…of a historically significant…neighborhood.

Related Characters: Tom Driscoll (speaker), Lindsey (speaker), Steve, Lena, Kevin
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:

Lindsey: And you know, the thing is? Communities change.
Steve: They do.
Lindsey: That’s just the reality.
Steve: It is.
Lena: And some change is inevitable, and we all support that, but it might be worth asking yourself who exactly is responsible that change?
Lindsey: I’m not sure what you—?
Kevin: Wait, what are you trying to—?
Lena: I’m asking you to think about the motivation behind the long-range political initiative to change the faith of this neighborhood….I mean that this is a highly desirable area…And I’m saying that there are certain economic interests that are being served by those changes and others that are not. That’s all.

Related Characters: Lindsey (speaker), Steve (speaker), Lena (speaker), Kevin (speaker)
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:

Steve: The history of America is the history of private property.
Lena: That may be —
Steve: Read De Tocqueville.
Lena: —though I rather doubt your grandparents were sold as private property.
Steve: Ohhhhh my god. Look. Look. Humans are territorial, okay?
Lindsey: Who are you?
Steve: This is why we have wars. One group, one tribe, tries to usurp some territory — and now you guys have this territory, right? And you don’t like having it stolen away from you, the way white people stole everything else from black America. We get it, okay? And we apologize. But what good does it do, if we perpetually fall into the same, predictable little euphemistic tap dance around the topic?
Kevin: You know how to tap dance?
Steve: See? See what he’s doing?!!
Lindsey: Maybe quit while you’re ahead.
Steve: No. I’m sick of — No. Every single word we say is — is — is scrutinized for some kind of latent — Meanwhile you guys run around saying n-word this and n-word that and whatever. We all know why there’s a double standard but I can’t even so much as repeat a fucking joke that the one black guy I know told me —

Related Characters: Lindsey (speaker), Steve (speaker), Lena (speaker), Kevin (speaker)
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:

Steve:… Are you “offended”?
Kevin: Nope.
Steve: Neither am I.
Lindsey: You can’t be offended, you moron —
Steve:…I can’t?
Lindsey: — because you’ve never been politically marginalized, unlike the majority of people in the world —
Steve: How can a majority be marginal?
Lindsey: — and, by the way, all women, everywhere, and it’s your classic white male myopia that you’re blind to that basic fact.
Lena: Why is a white woman like a tampon?
Lindsey: Why is what?
Lena: It’s a joke.

Related Characters: Lindsey (speaker), Steve (speaker), Lena (speaker), Bev Stoller, Karl Linder, Francine, Kathy, Kevin
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:

Well you’re being an idiot. And in case you hadn’t noticed, the rest of the world has begun a more sophisticated conversation about this topic than you apparently are qualified to participate in at this incredible moment in history. I mean, I used to date a black guy. So what? I mean, seriously. Steve. Wake up.

Related Characters: Lindsey (speaker), Steve, Lena, Kevin
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:

Lindsey: Well, I want to say this: I want to say I feel angry. And I’m basically kind of hurt by the implication that’s been made that, just because we want to live as your neighbors and raise a child alongside yours, that somehow, in the process of doing that, we’ve had our ethics called into question. Because that is hurtful.

Related Characters: Lindsey (speaker), Lena (speaker), Steve, Kevin
Page Number: 200
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kevin Character Timeline in Clybourne Park

The timeline below shows where the character Kevin appears in Clybourne Park. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
...a white couple named Steve and Lindsey, and their lawyer, Kathy, and a black couple named Kevin and Lena, and their lawyer, Tom. (full context)
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...to make it much taller than it already is. They have decided to meet with Kevin and Lena to discuss restrictions the neighborhood association has proposed on making changes to the... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...is defined will affect the renovations Steve and Lindsey want to make to the house. Kevin wonders if the language matters, but Steve says he doesn’t want to overlook a definition... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...upset that his plans might be rejected. While Kathy talks on the phone, Lindsey tells Kevin and Lena how much she loves the neighborhood, especially the location, which will radically reduce... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...Hector. Steve makes a comment about Spaniards, like the architect, and how they are temperamental. Kevin agrees, but Tom says Hector seemed “cool”. (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...discusses trips their families have taken across Europe and Northern Africa—Morocco, Spain, Prague, and Switzerland. Kevin and Kathy do most of the talking. Eventually Lena tries to make an announcement, but... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
...the house was so run-down she would rather build a new one. Tom explains that Kevin and Lena called him when they realized Lindsey and Steve planned to build a house... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...suggests everyone turn off his or her phone. Steve suggests getting back to business, but Kevin doesn’t want to start without his lawyer. Instead, they discuss Lindsey’s pregnancy and Kevin and... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Steve and Kevin laugh about how they both know Kyle Hendrickson. Kyle told Steve a joke, which he... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...article he read about changing demographics and neighborhood decline. Kathy describes it as “trouble,” but Kevin responds that drugs and violence are trouble, but that a neighborhood cannot be trouble inherently.... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...spins off into a conversation about Jewish ghettos in Prague, and then to Lena and Kevin’s trip to Prague and Switzerland. Kevin wonders if Steve skis, which makes Lindsey laugh. Steve... (full context)
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...her great aunt lived in the house they are sitting in currently. Together she and Kevin explain her aunt worked hard for the house, and that during Lena’s childhood the neighborhood... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
...dance around it.” He thinks her argument is informed by “the issue of…racism.” Lena and Kevin, feeling that Lena has been called a racist when their issue was the “inappropriately large... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...complains that “you guys” can say the “n—word” but he can’t even tell one joke. Kevin and Lena insist he tell it if he wants to so badly, though Lindsey continues... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
The conversation continues to devolve. Kevin tells a joke about white men, and Steve responds with a joke about black men.... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Lena ends the conversation when she offers her own joke—how are white women like tampons. Kevin encourages her not to tell it, but she does—white women are like tampons “because they’re... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...around with the yellow ribbon magnets on their SUVs in support of some bullshit war.” Kevin reveals he has three ribbons on his car, one for each of his family remembers... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Kevin ushers Lena out, and tells Steve and Lindsey they should just communicate through lawyers from... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...and now comes forward to try and break up the fight, putting his hand on Kevin’s shoulder. Angry, Kevin says “don’t you touch me,”  and Dan backs off. Lena and Kevin... (full context)
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...want to, but she plans on living in the house they’ve purchased. At this point Kevin and Lena have left, and Steve and Lindsey begin to gather their things and fold... (full context)