How I Learned to Drive

Female Greek Chorus Character Analysis

The female Greek chorus plays multiple voices from Li’l Bit’s past. The most prominent of these is Li’l Bit’s mother, who offers Li’l Bit misguided advice on sexuality and drinking alcohol “like a man.” Through these moments, the audience learns that Li’l Bit’s mother fell pregnant at an early age and had a bad relationship with Li’l Bit’s father. She blames this on her own mother, Li’l Bit’s grandmother, for not teaching her about the “facts of life.” The female chorus also plays Uncle Peck’s wife, Aunt Mary, who praises her husband’s virtuous character and places all the blame on his incestuous relationship with Li’l Bit on Li’l Bit herself. Other than these two characters, the female chorus also takes on the voice of Li’l Bit’s high school friends, all of whom reinforce the sexual status quo, telling Li’l Bit that she should be grateful for boys’ sexual advances. The cumulative effect of these voices is to show the weary world in which Li’l Bit grows up—a place where how things are is simply how things have to be.

Female Greek Chorus Quotes in How I Learned to Drive

The How I Learned to Drive quotes below are all either spoken by Female Greek Chorus or refer to Female Greek Chorus. 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:
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Theater Communications Group edition of How I Learned to Drive published in 2018.
How I Learned to Drive Quotes

FEMALE GREEK CHORUS. (As mother). And of course, we were so excited to have a baby girl that when the nurse brought you in and said, “It’s a girl! It’s a baby girl!” I just had to see for myself. So we whipped your diapers down and parted your chubby little legs — and right between your legs there was—(Peck has come over during the above and chimes along:)
PECK. GREEK CHORUS.
Just a little bit. Just a little bit.

FEMALE GREEK CHORUS. (As mother). And when you were born, you were so tiny that you fit in Uncle Peck’s outstretched hand. (Peck stretches his hand out.)

Related Characters: Uncle Peck (speaker), Female Greek Chorus (speaker), Li’l Bit’s Mother (speaker), Li’l Bit
Page Number: 12-13
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other How I Learned to Drive quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

FEMALE GREEK CHORUS. You know, you should take it as a compliment that the guys want to watch you jiggle. They’re guys. That’s what they’re supposed to do.

LI’L BIT. I guess you’re right. But sometimes I feel like these alien life forces, these two mounds of flesh have grafted the selves onto my chest, and they’re using me until they can “propagate” and take over the world and they’ll just keep growing, with a mind of their own until I collapse under their weight and they suck all the nourishment out of my body and I finally just waste away while they get bigger and bigger and — (Li’l Bit’s classmates are just staring at her in disbelief.)

FEMALE GREEK CHORUS. — You are the strangest girl I have ever met. (Li’l Bit’s trying to joke but feels on the verge of tears.)

LI’L BIT. Or maybe someone’s implanted radio transmitters in my chest at a frequency I can’t hear, that girls can’t detect, but they’re sending out these signals to men who get mesmerized, like sirens, calling them to dash themselves on these “rocks” —

Related Characters: Li’l Bit (speaker), Female Greek Chorus (speaker)
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

FEMALE GREEK CHORUS. (As Mother.) I am not letting an eleven-year-old girl spend seven hours alone in the car with a man... I don’t like the way your uncle looks at you.

LI’L BIT. For god’s sake, mother! Just because you’ve gone through a bad time with my father — you think every man is evil!

FEMALE GREEK CHORUS. (As Mother.) Oh no, Li’l Bit not all men... We... we just haven’t been very lucky with the men in our family.

LI’L BIT. Just because you lost your husband — I still deserve a chance at having a father! Someone! A man who will look out for me! Don’t I get a chance?

FEMALE GREEK CHORUS. (As Mother.) I will feel terrible if something happens.

LI’L BIT. Mother! It’s in your head! Nothing will happen! I can take care of myself. And I can certainly handle Uncle Peck.

FEMALE GREEK CHORUS. (As Mother.) All right. But I’m warning you — if anything happens, I hold you responsible.

Related Characters: Li’l Bit (speaker), Female Greek Chorus (speaker), Li’l Bit’s Mother (speaker), Uncle Peck
Related Symbols: Driving/Cars
Page Number: 55-56
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire How I Learned to Drive LitChart as a printable PDF.
How i learned to drive.pdf.medium

Female Greek Chorus Character Timeline in How I Learned to Drive

The timeline below shows where the character Female Greek Chorus 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
...cousin was branded “B.B.,” which the play’s three Greek choruses explain stands for “blue balls.” The female chorus , taking on the voice of Li’l Bit’s mother, explains that Li’l Bit got her... (full context)
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
...would then storm out of the house weeping. Her Aunt Mary, Peck’s wife voiced by the female chorus, would send him after her, commenting that “Peck’s so good with them when they... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Here, the female chorus interjects as Li’l Bit’s mother to give “A Mother’s Guide to Social Drinking.” It... (full context)
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
...II, but he resists her questioning. Li’l Bit knocks back more drinks and gets drunk. The female chorus interjects again to instruct that a woman should make herself vomit in the bathroom if... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
...Women: Part 1.” This takes the form of a conversation between the fourteen-years-old Li’l Bit, the female chorus playing her mother, and the teenage chorus playing her grandmother. (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
The female chorus /Li’l Bit’s mother states that men only want one thing, “and once they have it... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
The female chorus /mother and the teenage chorus/grandmother debate the existence of orgasms, with the latter insisting she’s... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
...and mother, played by the same choruses as before, what it’s like to have sex. The female chorus /mother tells her that sex hurts the first time, and that “there’s a little blood.”... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
The argument intensifies, revealing that female chorus/mother resents the teenage chorus/grandmother for not telling her more about sex. If she had known... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
The next high school vignette takes place in the gym showers. The female chorus and teenage chorus trick Li’l Bit into showering first. They are amazed to see that... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
...vignette begins with the off-stage voice saying, “Were You Prepared?” Li’l Bit is talking to the female chorus about feeling self-conscious. Meanwhile, Peck is setting up a tripod and staring at her.... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
The female chorus tells Li’l Bit that she should “take it as a compliment that the guys want... (full context)
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
...shift in the action, calling out: “Idling in the Neutral Gear.” The male chorus presents the female chorus as Aunt Mary, who speaks to the audience “on behalf of her husband.” The... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
The female chorus /Aunt Mary says that she knows Peck has “troubles.” She mentions Peck’s war experiences and... (full context)
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
...voice announces: “Shifting Forward from Second to Third Gear.” It’s late 1969. The male and female choruses read out notes and gifts from Peck to Li’l Bit. They are sent to her... (full context)
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
Peck and Li’l Bit hold each other on the bed. The male chorus and the female chorus (who is still in the voice of Aunt Mary) recite a surreal “Recipe for... (full context)
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
...to the summer of 1962. Li’l Bit is trying to convince her mother (played by the female chorus) to let her spend more time with Peck—she says that he “listens to me... (full context)
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
Li’l Bit tries to reassure the female chorus/mother that “nothing will happen!” She says that just because her mother lost her husband... (full context)
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
Memory and Trauma Theme Icon
Sexuality Theme Icon
...“the most important control on the dashboard—the radio.” As she tries to find the station, the female , male, and teenage choruses speak back lines from earlier in the play, e.g. “How... (full context)