Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

by

Ray Lawler

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Johnnie Dowd Character Analysis

Roo hired Johnnie to replace Tony Moreno in the cane fields up north. He's a young, strong, and burly man. Roo soon found that Johnnie was stronger and faster than he was, which resulted in a fierce sense of rivalry and finally, a fight. Johnnie was made "ganger" after Roo left and for much of the play, Roo describes Johnnie as a good-for-nothing upstart. When Johnnie appears in person, he's kinder, more sensible, and infinitely more emotionally intelligent than Roo made him out to be. He encourages Roo to shake hands and honestly wants to get on Roo's good side. When Barney tries to set Johnnie up with Bubba, Johnnie takes it into his own hands and steals Bubba's heart by asking her for her real name. Like Pearl, Johnnie is disillusioned by what he finds at the house. He finds it drab and not at all like Roo and Barney said it was.

Johnnie Dowd Quotes in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll quotes below are all either spoken by Johnnie Dowd or refer to Johnnie Dowd. 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 1, Scene 1 Quotes

Not as good as Roo when he's fit, mind yer, but he could run rings round the best of us. And this time he even made Roo look like a has-been. I never seen Roo git so mad, in no time at all he made it like a running fight between 'em, tryin' to git the better of this kid.

Related Characters: Barney Ibbot (speaker), Roo Webber, Olive Leech, Johnnie Dowd
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

Oh, of course I've never been here, it's just the reputation that's been built up among the boys. I reckon you could say it's almost famous, up north.

Related Characters: Johnnie Dowd (speaker), Roo Webber, Barney Ibbot, Bubba Ryan
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

H-how can I? All that's happened in a house makes a feeling—you can't tell anyone that. It's between people.

Related Characters: Bubba Ryan (speaker), Roo Webber, Olive Leech, Barney Ibbot, Johnnie Dowd
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

Bubba? Is that what they call you? Seems to me they're keeping you in the cradle, too. What's your real name?

Related Characters: Johnnie Dowd (speaker), Roo Webber, Olive Leech, Barney Ibbot, Bubba Ryan
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

Yes, and so was he. Both of us sloggin' it out under the sun! Are you tryin' to say that's the same thing as this—a job in a paint factory? Are you?

Related Characters: Roo Webber (speaker), Barney Ibbot, Johnnie Dowd
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

He might have been drinking, and this morning he might have forgotten like you said, but this is the only chance I've ever had of comin' close to—I dunno—whatever it is I've been watchin' all these years. You think I'd give that up?

Related Characters: Bubba Ryan (speaker), Roo Webber, Barney Ibbot, Johnnie Dowd
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Summer of the Seventeenth Doll LitChart as a printable PDF.
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll PDF

Johnnie Dowd Character Timeline in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

The timeline below shows where the character Johnnie Dowd appears in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...fired one of his regular workers, Tony Moreno, and then hired a young man named Johnnie Dowd. Johnnie was fast enough to make Roo seem like a has-been, and it escalated... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...he needed the money, and made things worse by telling Roo that the boys made Johnnie "ganger" (boss) in Roo's place, and that Johnnie did a great job. Roo appears behind... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...Roo is mad because Barney didn't follow him off the job after Roo fought with Johnnie. Roo says he's not mad, and he and Barney argue for a minute until Roo... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...that the boys want to go out with Barney and Roo sometime. Roo asks if Johnnie Dowd is with them, and when Barney says he is, Roo says he won't go.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...gets up to look out the window and returns to Olive angry: the "friend" is Johnnie Dowd. They hear laughter from outside and Olive quickly comes up with a plan to... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...has ahold of Emma's apron and asks her loudly for a kiss while Pearl and Johnnie try to control him. When Barney lunges at Emma, she breaks free and runs into... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Johnnie congenially greets Roo and they exchange awkward pleasantries. Barney steps forward and begins to try... (full context)
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
After an awkward pause, Johnnie says that the boys want to see Roo, and they were wondering if they could... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
Olive coldly asks Johnnie if he'll stay for dinner, but Johnnie declines the invitation. She follows Roo upstairs. Barney,... (full context)
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
...lights up with an idea. He suggests that just the three of them—he, Roo, and Johnnie—go to the races tomorrow instead of going out in a big group. When Johnnie says... (full context)
Gender and Work Theme Icon
When Pearl enters the living room, Barney reintroduces her to Johnnie. She steps past them to sit on the sofa and tells Barney that Olive has... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Pearl asks if Johnnie will be going without a date. Barney begins to say that Johnnie is shy and... (full context)
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
Amazed, Barney reminds Pearl that she'd be there to supervise Vera. Johnnie tries to diffuse the situation, as Barney accuses Pearl of messing everything up. Pearl nearly... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
Johnnie impatiently calls for Barney, who comes back into the living room dragging a surprised Bubba... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Johnnie turns to Bubba and awkwardly tells her that if she doesn't want to go to... (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
Johnnie begins to walk through the room and says he's spent a lot of time imagining... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Johnnie motions to the kewpie dolls and asks what they're for. Bubba explains that Roo gives... (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
Johnnie sits and asks why everyone treats anything connected to Roo as though Johnnie won't understand... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Barney comes in from the verandah and calls for Roo. Johnnie asks Barney to tell Kathie the plan for tomorrow. Barney is confused for a moment... (full context)
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
Roo asks Bubba why she's here, and she explains that she met Johnnie. Olive enters, asks if Johnnie's gone, and greets Bubba. Roo seems angry and when Olive... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...her to allow Vera to go to the races. Bubba cuts in and says that Johnnie asked her to go, not Vera. Olive sighs and insists that Barney wouldn't try to... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...since he's drunk, but Roo furiously shoves Barney into the room. Barney admits he brought Johnnie for Roo's own good, but Roo won't let him speak more. He insists that Barney... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
Barney turns back to Roo and accuses him of being jealous of Johnnie, and he says that the boys feel the same way. He says that Johnnie is... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...not willing to admit the truth. Olive asks if Barney wants Roo to admit that Johnnie Dowd was the better man, and reminds Barney that Roo had a bad back. Barney... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...brought someone home who Roo doesn't like. Roo struggles to say that shaking hands with Johnnie was the hardest thing he's ever done, and his fingers felt like they'd been crushed... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...tells Roo to look in the mirror, and when Roo resists, asks if the youthful Johnnie was a mirage. Roo insists that he's not old; Emma's old and Tony Moreno is... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
...races is canceled. Roo confirms that the races are indeed off. Barney says he told Johnnie last night that Bubba wouldn't be able to come. Bubba asks where Johnnie is staying,... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
Roo tells Bubba that she's certainly entitled to talk to Johnnie, but deserves to know why she was asked to the races in the first place.... (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
...Roo asks Bubba what's so important about going to the races. Bubba says emotionally that Johnnie asked her, and he asked to call her by her real name. She runs to... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...that Bubba has outgrown them, and Bubba agrees. Roo asks Barney to tell Bubba where Johnnie is, and then tells Bubba to arrange to meet Johnnie somewhere and to tell him... (full context)
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
Barney tells Roo that he's leaving to pick grapes with the boys and Johnnie. He asks Roo if he's going to make a fuss about it, and Roo insists... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Gender and Work Theme Icon
Loyalty, Friendship, and Tradition Theme Icon
...the season, and Roo insists that Barney will be fine without him, since he has Johnnie now. He says that he's not going back ever again, and takes Olive in his... (full context)
Youth, Maturity, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Idealization vs. Reality Theme Icon
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Barney quietly turns to Roo and says that the other boys, Johnnie included, can go to hell: the two of them can make a fresh start anywhere.... (full context)