The America Play

by

Suzan-Lori Parks

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Brazil Character Analysis

The Foundling Father and Lucy’s son, who accompanies his mother to the replica of the Great Hole of History in Act Two to give his father the “proper burial” he deserves. He spends much of this act digging, looking for the buried knickknacks—or “Wonders”—that his father has left behind. He is close to his mother, with whom he also works: Brazil is a professional funeral mourner, and his mother is a “Confidence” who listens to dying people’s secrets. In contrast, Brazil knows little about his father, who taught him some mourning techniques (like “‘the Weep’ ‘the Sob’ and ‘the Moan,’” and most importantly “the Gnash”), but then disappeared mysteriously when Brazil was five. Of course, Brazil’s constant mourning is one of many ways that Parks cites the traumatic history of African American life in this play. When he processes the death of his father—which is also that of Abraham Lincoln—Brazil mourns in a way that is neither clearly acted nor clearly authentic. Throughout Act Two, Brazil struggles to articulate his own identity, both as an individual and in relation to the father who abandoned him (but whose digging skills, Lincoln-like appearance, and Great Hole he has inherited). While he is 35 years old, he frequently shows the emotional range of a child and relates to his mother like one. For instance, he weeps uncontrollably for his father and admits, “—Imsisim—” (“I miss him”), and Lucy comforts him by telling him he “look[s] more and more and more and more like him [his father] ever-y day.” Ultimately, he is able to assemble his “Hall of Wonders,” which comes to include his very father, who is dead with a “great black hole in thuh great head.”

Brazil Quotes in The America Play

The The America Play quotes below are all either spoken by Brazil or refer to Brazil. 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:
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Theatre Communications Group edition of The America Play published in 1994.
Act 2: The Hall of Wonders Quotes

A gunshot echoes. Loudly. And echoes.

Related Characters: Lucy, Brazil, The Foundling Father
Related Symbols: Echoes, The Great Hole of History
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Part A: Big Bang Quotes

Dig on, son. —. Cant stop diggin till you dig up somethin. You dig that something up you brush that something off you give that something uh designated place. Its own place. Along with thuh other discoveries. In thuh Hall of Wonders. Uh place in the Hall of Wonders right uhlong with thuh rest of thuh Wonders hear?

Related Characters: Lucy (speaker), Brazil
Related Symbols: The Wonders
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

BRAZIL: [We’re from out East. We’re not from these parts.
(Rest)
Mv foe-father, her husband, my Daddy, her mate, her man, my Pa come out here. Out West.
(Rest)
Come out here all uhlone. Cleared thuh path tamed thuh wilderness dug this whole Hole with his own 2 hands and et cetera.
(Rest)
Left his family behind. Back Last. His Lucy and his child. He waved “Goodbye.” Left us tuh carry on. I was only 5.
(Rest)]
My Daddy was uh Digger. Shes whatcha call uh Confidence. I did thuh weepin and thuh moanin.
(Rest)
His lonely death and lack of proper burial is our embarrassment.

Related Characters: Brazil (speaker), The Foundling Father, Lucy
Related Symbols: The Great Hole of History
Page Number: 178-179
Explanation and Analysis:

LUCY: That iduhnt how it went.
BRAZIL: Oh.
LUCY: Thuh Mr. Washington me and your Daddy seen was uh lookuhlike of thuh Mr. Washington of history-fame, son.
BRAZIL: Oh.
LUCY: Thuh original Mr. Washingtonssbeen long dead.
BRAZIL : O.
LUCY: That Hole back East was uh theme park son. Keep your story to scale.
BRAZIL: K.
(Rest)
Him and Her would sit by thuh lip uhlong with thuh others all in uh row cameras clickin and theyud look down into that Hole and see—ooooo—you name it. Ever-y-day you could look down that Hole and see—ooooo you name it. Amerigo Vespucci hisself made regular appearances. Marcus Garvey. Ferdinand and Isabella. Mary Queen of thuh Scots! Tarzan King of thuh Apes! Washington Jefferson Harding and Millard Fillmore. Mistufer Columbus even. Oh they saw all thuh greats. Parading daily in thuh Great Hole of History.

Related Characters: Brazil (speaker), Lucy (speaker), The Foundling Father
Related Symbols: The Great Hole of History
Page Number: 179-180
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Part C: Archaeology Quotes

BRAZIL: You hear im?
LUCY: Echo of thuh first sort: thuh sound. (E.g. thuh gunplay.)
(Rest)
Echo of thuh 2nd sort: thuh words. Type A: thuh words from thuh dead. Category: Unrelated.
(Rest)
Echo of thuh 2nd sort, Type B: words less fortunate: thuh Disembodied Voice. Also known as “Thuh Whispers.” Category: Related. Like our Fathuhs.
(Rest)
Echo of thuh 3rd sort: thuh body itself.
(Rest)
BRAZIL: You hear im.
LUCY: Cant say. Cant say, son.
BRAZIL: My faux-father.

Related Characters: Lucy (speaker), Brazil (speaker), The Foundling Father
Related Symbols: Echoes, Whispers
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

Uh Hehm. Uh Hehm. WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME TUH THUH HALL OF —

Related Characters: Brazil (speaker), Lucy
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Part E: Spadework Quotes

BRAZIL: We could say I just may follow in thuh footsteps of my foe-father.
LUCY: We could say that.
BRAZIL: Look on thuh bright side!
LUCY: Look on thuh bright side!
BRAZIL: So much tuh live for!
LUCY: So much tuh live for! Sweet land of—! Sweet land of—?
BRAZIL: Of liberty!

Related Characters: Lucy (speaker), Brazil (speaker), The Foundling Father
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

1 couldnt never deny him nothin.
I gived intuh him on everything.
Thuh moon. Thuh stars.

Related Characters: Lucy (speaker), The Foundling Father, Brazil
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Part G: The Great Beyond Quotes

BRAZIL: Mail the in-vites?
LUCY: I did.
BRAZIL: Think theyll come?
LUCY: I do. There arc hundreds upon thousands who knew of your Daddy, glorified his reputation, and would like to pay their respects.
THE FOUNDLING FATHER: Howuhboutthat.

Related Characters: Brazil (speaker), Lucy (speaker), The Foundling Father (speaker), Abraham Lincoln
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:

To my right: our newest Wonder: One of thuh greats Hisself! Note: thuh body sitting propped upright in our great Hole. Note the large mouth opened wide. Note the top hat and frock coat, just like the greats. Note the death wound: thuh great black hole — thuh great black hole in thuh great head. —And how this great head is bleedin. —Note: thuh last words. —And thuh last breaths. —And how thuh nation mourns —
(Takes his leave)

Related Characters: Brazil (speaker), The Foundling Father, Abraham Lincoln, Lucy
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The America Play LitChart as a printable PDF.
The America Play PDF

Brazil Character Timeline in The America Play

The timeline below shows where the character Brazil appears in The America Play. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2: The Hall of Wonders
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...Great Hole of History.” Finally, the directions note that “Lucy with ear trumpet circulates,” and “Brazil digs.” (full context)
Act 2, Part A: Big Bang
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Lucy and Brazil debate if the sound they hear is “him,” as the gunshot keeps echoing. They decide... (full context)
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
Lucy notices that Brazil has stopped digging. She tells him to continue “till you dig up somethin” and reminds... (full context)
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
...herself” and “lost her mind” after her husband and son died. She died, too, and Brazil “gnashed for her” (rather than “weepin sobbin or moanin”). He “gnashed” so hard that he... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
Brazil notes that he and Lucy “arent from these parts,” and “Daddy iduhnt either.” He’s stopped... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
Brazil comments that “Ff Pa was here weud find his bones,” along with “thuh Wonders” and... (full context)
Race and American Identity Theme Icon
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Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
Since he doesn’t hear his Pa’s “whispers,” Brazil concludes that “he wuduhnt here,” but Lucy says that he must have been, and that... (full context)
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Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
“So much to live for,” Lucy says and Brazil repeats, and then “Look on thuh bright side,” which Brazil extends into a yell or... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
Brazil recalls that his family is “from out East,” but his Pa (for whom he has... (full context)
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Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
The gunshot echoes again, and Brazil screams and “drops dead,” but Lucy knows he’s “fakin” just like his Father always did.... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...“digged this lookuhlike,” and then “died right here.” “Uh greaaaaat biiiiig faker,” Lucy repeats—just like Brazil, who “take[s] after him.” She tells Brazil to put his “paw” back on the shovel... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Race and American Identity Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
Brazil takes a rest and tells the story of “the 100th anniversary of the founding of... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
After a long silence, Lucy yells “Hellooooo!” Later, Brazil yells “HO!” and pulls out “Uh Wonder!” It’s the bust of Abraham Lincoln. Lucy exclaims,... (full context)
Act 2, Part C: Archaeology
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
Brazil asks if Lucy “hear[s] im,” and Lucy presents a taxonomy of kinds of echoes: there... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Race and American Identity Theme Icon
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Brazil talks about his “faux-father,” who came West alone, his “Daddy,” who is “one of them.”... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Brazil clears his throat and announces, “WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME TUH THUH HALL OF—” but Lucy shushes... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Lucy tells Brazil that she “couldnt never deny [Pa] nothin” and gave him “Thuh moon. Thuh stars. /... (full context)
Act 2, Part E: Spadework
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Race and American Identity Theme Icon
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Brazil and Lucy quiz each other on about a dozen state capitals, until they get to... (full context)
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Race and American Identity Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Brazil weeps, but Lucy gives him “daddys digging spade” to cheer him up and tells him... (full context)
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Lucy and Brazil ask what Pa would say, if Lucy could “hear his words.” She decides that he... (full context)
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Lucy tells Brazil that his Pa might as well be “striding on in” to see them, “nod[ding]” to... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
...she “couldnt never deny him [Pa] nothin” and “gived intuh him on everything,” just as Brazil finds a trumpet. Lucy tells Brazil to “try it out”—but instead, they just move on.... (full context)
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Lucy exclaims “WOAH!” and Brazil asks her “Whatchaheard?” After a long time, she says, “You dont wanna know.” There is... (full context)
Act 2, Part G: The Great Beyond
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
...onstage “The Foundling Father has returned,” but a “coffin awaits him.” Lucy says “Howuhboutthat!,” and Brazil points out that “they just gunned him down uhgain,” so “he’s dead but not really.”... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...says that he “believe[s] this is the place where [he] do[es] the Gettysburg Address,” and Brazil and Lucy are surprised and confused—although Lucy promises Brazil that “he’s dead.” After some blank... (full context)
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The Foundling Father asks Brazil and Lucy for a hug, but neither is ready yet. There is another echo of... (full context)
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Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
...business. And buried all my things. I dropped anchor: Bottomless. Your turn.” But Lucy and Brazil do not reply for some time—until Lucy asks the Foundling Father to act out Lincoln... (full context)
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After a pause, Brazil asks if the Foundling Father has died, but Lucy says she has “nothin.” Brazil starts... (full context)
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Brazil announces, “Welcome Welcome Welcome to thuh hall. Of. Wonders.” He starts describing the wonders, exactly... (full context)
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Finally, Brazil points to “our newest Wonder: One of the greats Hisself!” He tells the audience to... (full context)