Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

by

Ray Lawler

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Emma Leech Character Analysis

Emma is Olive's seventy-year-old mother. She allows the layoff season shenanigans to take place at her home in Carlton, Victoria, and Olive lives with her the rest of the year. Emma is a wry, irritable old lady who's always looking to eke money out of her houseguests, Barney and Roo in particular. She loves to eavesdrop and is generally cantankerous, though she cooks for her houseguests and tidies after them. She also loves to sing, and her voice is something she's exceptionally proud of. She kindly offers to lend Roo money and tries to support him in other ways throughout the play. She enlightens Roo to the fact that he's old and implies that she thought more highly of Nancy than she does of Roo, Barney, or Olive. Emma especially doesn't think very highly of Olive, as she thinks it's silly and immature for a grownup woman to cling so tightly to the kewpie dolls that Roo brings.

Emma Leech Quotes in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll quotes below are all either spoken by Emma Leech or refer to Emma Leech. 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:
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Samuel French, Inc. edition of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll published in 2011.
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

I started off trying to fix up what they broke. After that, I couldn't seem to stop. Emma always sez tryin' to shift heavy furniture on your own's a sign you're crooked on the world. Wonder what spring cleanin' at two o'clock in the morning means?

Related Characters: Olive Leech (speaker), Pearl Cunningham, Emma Leech
Related Symbols: Kewpie Dolls
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:

This is what I call interestin'. The lot of yez squabbling at last 'stead of all that playin' around went on other times. Only thing I'm sorry for is Nancy ain't here. She knew which way the wind was blowin', that one.

Related Characters: Emma Leech (speaker), Roo Webber, Barney Ibbot, Nancy
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:

You and Barney are two of a pair. Only the time he spent chasin' wimmin, you put in being top dog! Both of you champions! Well, that's all very fine and a lot of fun while it lasts, but last is one thing it just don't do. There's a time for sowing and a time for reaping—and reapin' is what you're doing now.

Related Characters: Emma Leech (speaker), Roo Webber, Barney Ibbot
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Summer of the Seventeenth Doll LitChart as a printable PDF.
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll PDF

Emma Leech Character Timeline in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

The timeline below shows where the character Emma Leech appears in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...tea, and leaves. Olive looks at the sky getting dark and wonders where her mother (Emma) is, since she was supposed to have been home from her community choir long ago.... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
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Barney appears in the doorway, carrying Emma over his shoulder. Emma pretends to be angry. Barney asks where the garbage is, and... (full context)
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...next to Pearl and says it's just like the old days. Pearl looks unsettled as Emma rushes in and accuses Olive of stealing vinegar. Olive insists it was only a little... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...heads upstairs and Olive gives Barney a telegram. Olive asks Pearl to go check on Emma and the salad, and Barney sighs and says the telegram is from Nancy. He asks... (full context)
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Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
Barney sits and tells Olive that what Emma said about needing her to make it home was true, and Roo is broke. He... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
The next morning, Emma is tidying the living room and calls to Olive upstairs to take a coat to... (full context)
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...he come to the pub, and asks him to book her seats for the theatre. Emma barges in and says that breakfast is hot, but insists she won't yell for Barney.... (full context)
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...ad in the paper and asks if Lyman Paint Company is near the house, and Emma says it's around the corner. She asks if Barney is broke too, which Roo says... (full context)
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Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Emma asks Bubba if she's come to help clean up, and Bubba answers that she's just... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...be different, and Roo assures her it'll be just the same. Bubba hugs Roo as Emma walks in with a bowl of fruit. Emma teases Bubba about the shop where she... (full context)
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Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Emma asks Roo if he'll take the loan, and Roo insists he shouldn't. He explains it'd... (full context)
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Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...and Olive to the tram. Roo says his goodbyes to Barney, who acts offended. When Emma enters and sees that Roo is going out, she yells about Roo's uneaten breakfast. Roo... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
...silly and she'd rather go to bed. Barney insists she stay, and suggests they get Emma in to play the piano so they can have a singalong. (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
Barney calls for Emma, who's sitting outside. He offers her money to play any tunes she likes, and she... (full context)
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Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Emma glares angrily at Olive and then starts playing the introduction to the song. She begins... (full context)
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Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Olive asks Emma if maybe she's singing wrong, but Emma insists she's never hit a wrong note. She... (full context)
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Roo tells Olive she shouldn't have made fun of Emma's singing because it's the one thing she's proud of, but Olive says that Emma never... (full context)
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Barney and Roo discuss Emma's fussiness. There seems to be a guarded air around the men as Barney asks how... (full context)
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...cheerfully notes that they have time to pour drinks before midnight. Roo suggests they call Emma, but Olive says that Emma will join them if she feels like it. Olive sits... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Gender and Work Theme Icon
...outside. Olive enters the house, yelling at whoever's outside to pay the taxi driver, and Emma hisses at her to be quiet to let Roo sleep. Olive is surprised that Roo's... (full context)
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An extremely drunk Barney appears on the verandah. He has ahold of Emma's apron and asks her loudly for a kiss while Pearl and Johnnie try to control... (full context)
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...Johnnie. Olive moves away from him and tells him to not make things worse, since Emma is upset and Pearl is crying. (full context)
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...the layoff. He calls Barney a leech. Barney rushes Roo and they fight. Olive and Emma run in and try to separate the men as Bubba and Pearl look on. Olive... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
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...clean up the broken vase, but couldn't seem to stop. She laughs and says that Emma always tells her that it's a sign that something is off when a person tries... (full context)
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...it just all seemed to happen. Olive whirls away and comes face to face with Emma. She angrily accuses Emma of eavesdropping, and runs upstairs. (full context)
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Roo sits on the piano stool and Emma picks up Pearl's cup and saucer. Seeing how moody Roo looks, she tells him to... (full context)
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Roo says that Nancy got married, but Emma insists that Nancy purposefully got out while things were good. Emma says that she remembers... (full context)
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Suddenly, Roo asks Emma who's at fault for messing up the layoff season, him or Barney. Emma is astonished... (full context)
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Emma tells Roo he's not ancient yet, but he's not seventeen either, and she asks him... (full context)
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Emma asks Roo why he thinks Barney lied. Roo insists that lying is natural for Barney,... (full context)
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Roo asks about Olive. Emma says that Olive is a fool. She drags out the seventeenth doll from a cupboard... (full context)
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...Barney hear an argument upstairs. Olive, dressed for work, comes down the stairs followed by Emma. Emma turns for the kitchen as Olive enters the living room. Olive remarks snidely that... (full context)
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Emma and Barney run in, asking about the commotion. Olive won't tell Emma what's going on.... (full context)