How I Learned to Drive


Paula Vogel

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Cousin Bobby Character Analysis

Cousin Bobby, nicknamed “Blue Balls” after his genitalia, does not actually appear in the play and has no spoken lines. His presence is implied, however, in a monologue by Uncle Peck, in which the latter takes Bobby fishing. During this fishing trip, Peck uses similarly coercive language with Bobby as he does with Li’l Bit, trying to pressure the young boy into going to a nearby treehouse—which Peck calls “a secret place”—to have some beer. Vogel strongly implies that Cousin Bobby is abused by Peck and, by not granting Bobby any spoken lines himself, emphasizes the secrecy, embarrassment and shame that most likely followed.
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Cousin Bobby Character Timeline in How I Learned to Drive

The timeline below shows where the character Cousin Bobby appears in How I Learned to Drive. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
How I Learned to Drive
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
...for their genitalia. Her mother was called “the titless wonder” and her cousin was branded “B.B.,” which the play’s three Greek choruses explain stands for “blue balls.” The female chorus, taking... (full context)
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
The teenage Greek chorus then introduces an anecdote about Uncle Peck teaching cousin Bobby to fish. Peck plies Bobby with alcohol. When Bobby catches a fish and gets upset... (full context)