How I Learned to Drive Analysis

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How I Learned To Drive Analysis Paper

In Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive”, we follow our protagonist nicknamed “Lil Bit” on a gut wrenching, and downright disturbing journey through her adolescence, told as a series of narrations, monologues, and flashbacks with the occasional interjection of a PSA like voice over. The play recounts the physical and emotional abuse Lil Bit encountered from the ages of eleven to eighteen at the hands of her uncle Peck, while he teaches her to drive.

The main flaw I saw in Lil Bit was that she is too smart for her own good. You see this characteristic throughout the play as she manipulates Peck. For example, it was most obvious for me when their roles of adult and child are reversed, and Peck is explaining to Lil Bit what a good boy he has been for not drinking. Knowing how much Peck lusts after her she offers him a reward for his good behavior in the form of undoing her bra. Another great example is when prior to her and peck going on a road trip and Lil Bit’s mother indicates that she has a sense of what Peck has on his mind, she responds by saying “I can take care of myself. And I can certainly handle uncle Peck.” At this point in the story she is only eleven. It’s hard to imagine a child of that age so grown up emotionally. Overall, most of the characters had likeable qualities, with the exception of the grandmother. I didn’t really like the way she meddled in the Parenting of Lil Bit. I liked “Big Papa” the best. He’s a crabby old timer who speaks anything that comes into his head with reckless abandon. It brought me some levity in an otherwise melancholy play.

The climax of the play occurs on Lil Bit’s eighteenth birthday. She and Peck are in a hotel room, and she’s been ignoring peck for some time leading up to this meeting as he’s been sending her cards counting down to her birthday. Lil Bit is obviously conflicted about their relationship now that she has gotten older, but Peck is looking forward to a...
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