Clybourne Park

by

Bruce Norris

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Russ Stoller Character Analysis

A white man in his late forties. Russ is married to Bev, and is the father of Kenneth. At the beginning of the play he and Bev are preparing to move from their home in the neighborhood of Clybourne Park so he can be close to his new job. Although once a funny and social man, Russ has become depressed in the wake of his son’s suicide. He is withdrawn and uncommunicative, which worries and scares his wife. Although he argues against Karl and Jim’s segregationist dreams for Clybourne Park, it is unclear if he actually believes in integration, or simply does not care what happens to the neighborhood as long as he doesn’t have to stay. He is played by the same actor who plays Dan in Act II.

Russ Stoller Quotes in Clybourne Park

The Clybourne Park quotes below are all either spoken by Russ Stoller or refer to Russ Stoller. 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

But that’s nice, isn’t it, in a way? To know we all have our place.

Related Characters: Bev Stoller (speaker), Russ Stoller, Mr. Wheeler
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

Tell ya what I think. And I’m not a psychiatrist or anything but I do think a lotta people today have this tendency, tendency to brood about stuff, which, if you ask me, is, is, is — well, short answer, it’s not productive. And what I’d say to these people, were I to have a degree in psychiatry, I think my advice would be maybe, get up offa your rear end and do something.

Related Characters: Russ Stoller (speaker), Jim, Kenneth Stoller
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

Bev: Well, you’re being ugly, and I don’t like ugliness.
Russ: — private matters, matters that are between me and the memory of my son —
Bev: I think his mind has been affected, I really do.
Russ: — and if the two of you want to talk about Kenneth on your own time, if that gives you some kind you comfort
Bev: And what’s wrong with comfort? Are we not allowed any comfort anymore?

Related Characters: Russ Stoller (speaker), Bev Stoller (speaker), Jim, Kenneth Stoller
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

Now, Russ, you know as well as I do that this is a progressive community.

Related Characters: Karl Linder (speaker), Russ Stoller, Bev Stoller, Jim, The Younger Family
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

Karl: It’s a colored family.
Jim: Sorry, don’t we say Negro, now?
Karl: I say Negro —
Jim: Well, it’s only common courtesy, and I’m —
Karl: — I say them interchangeably
Jim: — not trying to tell you how to conduct your business.
Karl: — and of course I said Negro to them — No I think we both know what you’re doing.

Related Characters: Karl Linder (speaker), Jim (speaker), Russ Stoller, Bev Stoller, Ted Driscoll, The Younger Family
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

Karl: Bev, they are one hundred percent. And if I don’t know how much time any of you have spent in Hamilton Park, but Betsy was waiting in the car and I can tell you, there are some unsavory characters.
Russ: Karl?
Karl: But in the case of Gelman’s: I think there was some mistrust at first, having been Kopeckne’s Market for such a long time, but in the end of all Murray Gelman found a way to fit in.
Bev: And they hired the Wheeler boy.

Related Characters: Russ Stoller (speaker), Bev Stoller (speaker), Karl Linder (speaker), Mr. Wheeler, The Younger Family
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

Karl: And what happened to love thy neighbor? If we’re being so principled.
Bev: They would become our neighbors.
Karl: And what about the neighbors you already have Bev?
Bev: I care about them, too!
Karl: Well, I’m afraid you can’t have it both ways.

Related Characters: Bev Stoller (speaker), Karl Linder (speaker), Russ Stoller, Jim, The Younger Family
Page Number: 66
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:

And Francine walking in at nine in the morning to find him there. You be my guest, Karl. You go ahead and tell those people what kind of house they’re moving into and see if that stops ‘em, because I’ll tell you what, I don’t care if a hundred Ubangi tribesman with a bone through the nose overrun this goddamn place, ‘cause I’m through with all of you, ya motherfucking sons of bitches. Every one of you.

Related Characters: Russ Stoller (speaker), Bev Stoller, Karl Linder, Francine, Jim, Kenneth Stoller
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

I think they’re all a buncha idiots. And who’s the biggest idiot of all to let yourself get dragged into the middle of it? Whatcha gonna be now, the big peacemaker come to save the day?...Let ‘em knock each other’s brains out, for all I care. I’m done working for these people two days from now, and you never worked for ‘em at all, so what the hell do you care what they do? And now I am going to the goddamn car.

Related Characters: Francine (speaker), Russ Stoller, Bev Stoller, Karl Linder, Albert
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Clybourne Park LitChart as a printable PDF.
Clybourne Park PDF

Russ Stoller Character Timeline in Clybourne Park

The timeline below shows where the character Russ Stoller appears in Clybourne Park. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
...boxes piled 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)
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Russ sits, reading a magazine, eating Neapolitan ice cream out of a carton. Although it is... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Bev continues packing boxes in the living room. She sees Russ’s ice cream and considers the name, Neapolitan. She thinks it’s funny and wonders what the... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...rules that govern the naming of people from cities that end with the letter “S.” Russ joins in, suggesting Des Moines, Brussels, and Paris, all of which Bev rejects as good... (full context)
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Riffing on residents of the Congo, called Congolese, Russ wonders why people don’t say Mongolese. Bev tries to correct him, suggesting “Mongol-oid,” but is... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
There is another silence before Russ starts the game again. He has remembered the capital of Mongolia, which does not impress... (full context)
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Unamused by Russ’s joke, Bev asks if he has moved the footlocker down from upstairs like she asked.... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Bev asks Russ not to shrug off her question and say “what’s the point,” because, by that logic,... (full context)
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...the phone, who announces himself as Karl Linder, a neighbor, is interspersed with Bev and Russ’s conversation. Bev tells Francine that she’ll call Karl back, and promptly returns to the topic... (full context)
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Jim is friendly and good-natured, joking with Russ about the state of the house. Russ, listening in on Bev’s phone call with Karl,... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Russ asks Bev if Karl is coming over. She ignores the question and starts talking to... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...if she is free to go. Bev asks her to move the footlocker she’d asked Russ to move earlier. Francine reminds Bev she needs to leave by three-thirty, which is soon,... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Bev offers Jim lunch, but he declines. She jokes about Russ’s ice cream, and Russ responds, “can’t pack ice cream in a suitcase,” which Bev finds... (full context)
Alone again, Jim and Russ make small talk. Jim overheard Bev tell Karl that Russ was under the weather, so... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Russ and Jim then discuss the move, including the fact that it will shorten Russ’s commute... (full context)
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Russ is clearly uncomfortable, and looks for Bev in hopes she’ll come back into the room.... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Jim, hoping to comfort Russ, tells him his son was a hero to his country. This is the first time... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Bev reenters from the kitchen, and notes the mood in the room has changed. Russ has stood up, and Jim tells Bev he’s going to leave. Bev asks Russ what... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Russ moves toward the staircase. He tells Bev and Jim they can discuss his son, Kenneth,... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...to open the door for Albert, Francine’s husband, who has come to pick her up. Russ exits upstairs. Jim doesn’t know whether to invite Albert in, so Bev does and makes... (full context)
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...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 shoes... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Russ returns form the basement carrying a shovel. He asks Bev about his work gloves but... (full context)
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Karl tells Russ he has something he needs to talk to him about. Jim tries to leave but... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...her last pregnancy, two years before, ended with the death of the baby during delivery. Russ says he knew that, but offers no condolences. Karl begins to tell Russ he’s not... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...buyers of the Stollers' house are black—or, as he says, “colored.” As he speaks, Jim, Russ, and Bev talk over him: Jim is incredulous, and Russ calls to Bev. Neither of... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...to argue but Karl, frustrated, shuts her down saying, “Darling, I came to talk to Russ.” (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...it, has lost her grip. She comes running down the stairs after the trunk, apologizing. Russ, frustrated that Bev ignored his promise that he would move the trunk, yells that he... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Russ returns, calmer, from the basement, in time to hear Karl bring up skiing as a... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Russ interrupts Karl, and reminds him the house is sold, and that he and Bev are... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...if white people moved into their neighborhood, reflecting, “that might be to their advantage,” before Russ asks him to stop speaking. The two argue back and forth about Karl’s right to... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
...tell the new family moving in why the house is being sold below market value. Russ forcefully asks Karl to leave, but Karl continues talking, accusing the Stollers of behaving in... (full context)
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
Russ, fed up, begins an explosive monologue. Throughout, Karl tries to cut him off for the... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
As Bev and Karl speak, Russ crosses to the footlocker and extracts a letter, which he begins to read. It is... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Neighborhoods and Ownership Theme Icon
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Russ sarcastically tells Karl he can make copies of the letter and hand it out at... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Disability and Inclusion Theme Icon
...room is stunned into silence for a moment. Jim suggests bowing heads in prayer and Russ threatens to punch him. Jim backs up and trips over a moving box. Karl, afraid... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...Francine tries to make him stay out of it, but he puts his hand on Russ’s shoulder. Russ then turns on him, offended that Albert touched him in his own home.... (full context)
Communication and Miscommunication Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Russ, who had dragged the footlocker out to the backyard through the kitchen, returns with the... (full context)