How I Learned to Drive

Male Greek Chorus Character Analysis

The male Greek chorus plays a host of male characters whose remarks have embedded themselves in Li’l Bit’s psyche. For example, the male chorus takes on the role of her grandfather, Big Papa, who makes jibes about the size of her breasts and dismisses her wish to get a good education. The male chorus also plays a disapproving waiter serving food and margaritas to Li’l Bit when she is taken out for a meal by Uncle Peck to celebrate passing her driving test. The waiter overlooks her underage drinking in exchange for a big tip, entrenching an idea of male cooperation when it comes to the objectification of women. The other voices that the male chorus puts on represent boys at Li’l Bit’s high school, who obsess over the size of her breasts and tease her for appearance.

Male Greek Chorus Quotes in How I Learned to Drive

The How I Learned to Drive quotes below are all either spoken by Male Greek Chorus or refer to Male 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

MALE GREEK CHORUS. (As Grandfather.) How is Shakespeare going to help her lie on her back in the dark? (Li’l Bit is on her feet.)

LI’L BIT. You’re getting old. Big Papa. You are going to die —v ery very soon. Maybe even tonight. And when you get to heaven, God’s going to be a beautiful black woman in a long white robe. She’s gonna look at your chart and say: Uh-oh. Fornication. Dog-ugly mean with blood relatives. Oh. Uh-oh. Voted for George Wallace. Well, one last chance: If you can name the play, all will be forgiven. And then she’ll quote: “The quality of mercy is not strained." Your answer? Oh, too bad — Merchant of Venice: Act IV, Scene iii. And then she’ll send your ass to fry in hell with all the other crackers. Excuse me, please.

Related Characters: Li’l Bit (speaker), Male Greek Chorus (speaker), Li’l Bit’s Grandfather (speaker)
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:
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Male Greek Chorus Character Timeline in How I Learned to Drive

The timeline below shows where the character Male 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
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...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)
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...in 1969, and Li’l Bit’s family is commenting on the size of her breasts. The male chorus, in the voice of her grandfather, “Big Papa,” makes lewd jokes about them, saying... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Family and Abuse Theme Icon
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...good education in order to “rise above my cracker background”—she wants to learn Shakespeare. The male chorus, speaking as her grandfather, asks, “how is Shakespeare going to help her lie on... (full context)
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...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)
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Here, the female chorus interjects as Li’l Bit’s mother to give “A Mother’s Guide to Social Drinking.” It... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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)
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The female chorus/Li’l Bit’s mother states that men only want one thing, “and once they have it... (full context)
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The female chorus/mother and the teenage chorus/grandmother debate the existence of orgasms, with the latter insisting she’s... (full context)
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...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)
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The argument intensifies, revealing that female chorus/mother resents the teenage chorus/grandmother for not telling her more about sex. If she had... (full context)
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...Bit recounts some of her high school experiences, all of which involve her breasts. The male chorus, pretending to be a student called Jerome, feigns an allergy attack. Li’l Bit, concerned... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...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)
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The female chorus tells Li’l Bit that she should “take it as a compliment that the guys... (full context)
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...voice indicates a 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... (full context)
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The female chorus/Aunt Mary says that she knows Peck has “troubles.” She mentions Peck’s war experiences and... (full context)
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The official-sounding 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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...leaves, and moments later Peck is depicted ordering shot after shot of alcohol from the male chorus (playing the role of bartender). (full context)
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...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)
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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)
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...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 is... (full context)