The America Play

by

Suzan-Lori Parks

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Whispers Symbol Icon

While Brazil spends Act Two digging for Wonders, Lucy spends it listening for the Foundling Father’s “Whispers” through her ear trumpet. These “Whispers,” which are the echoes of “thuh Disembodied Voice,” represent the way that the dead speak to the living, or history influences the present. As a “Confidence,” or secret-keeper for the dead, it is understandable that Lucy would take charge of discovering these hidden traces of the departed—Brazil suggests that, if the Foundling Father died alone, he would have “jusut dribble[d his last] words out” so that “Confidencell gather up thuh whispers when she arrives.” In other words, the echoes of Pa’s final words and wishes should be bouncing around somewhere near his replica of the Great Hole of History, so that Lucy can assemble them back together into something intelligible when she gets there. They are, in a sense, one manifestation of Pa’s legacy—his monologue in Act One is another, and of course the Wonders are one more. In short, then, the presence of Whispers in Parks’s universe shows how dead people, past events, and vanished places and things are never truly gone, but continue to influence the world through the traces they leave behind.

Whispers Quotes in The America Play

The The America Play quotes below all refer to the symbol of Whispers. 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, 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:
Get the entire The America Play LitChart as a printable PDF.
The America Play PDF

Whispers Symbol Timeline in The America Play

The timeline below shows where the symbol Whispers appears in The America Play. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Part A: Big Bang
History, Narrative, and Multiplicity Theme Icon
Family, Trauma, and Personal Identity Theme Icon
Death, Mourning, and Resurrection Theme Icon
...that “Ff Pa was here weud find his bones,” along with “thuh Wonders” and “his Whispers,” but Lucy disagrees. Brazil says that “Confidence [would have] his last words and dying wishes,”... (full context)
Race and American Identity Theme Icon
Theater and Reality Theme Icon
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... (full context)