Dr. Jackie Trimble
Contemporary Literature/English 331
April 18, 2012
Response Paper #3
“Buried Child” A Play by Sam Shepard
This is a strange play in my opinion. Here you’ve got an old man, Dodge, lying on a couch smoking, drinking, and watching TV while his wife, Halie, is upstairs talking about the rain and nagging him to take a pill for his cough. We find out that the oldest son, Tilden, is mentally unstable or slow or something and can no longer take care of himself. We discover the second son, Bradley, cut off his leg in a chainsaw accident and can’t take care of himself either, the third son, Ansel, is dead; and all the while Halie is getting dressed to go out to with the preacher. This is all kind of humorous in itself.
Well, this guy, Vincent, who claims to be the grandson, Tilden’s child, and his girlfriend Shelly show up. Apparently no one recognizes him. Not his father or grandfather. I’m kind of with Shelly that they should just leave, maybe come back later, but Vincent knows he’s not crazy even if Dodge and Tilden think he is. I don’t understand this part really. Either Vincent is or isn’t part of the family and why don’t they recognize him especially if he’s only been gone 6 years. We never really find out the reason but after Vincent leaves the house to get Dodge some whiskey and comes back drunk, like almost everybody else is, the next morning they all of a sudden treat him like he never left. Weird!
The whole time Vincent is gone poor old Shelly is in that house by herself with Dodge and Tilden. Tilden keeps hinting at an awful thing that happened and tells her bits of the story but Dodge keeps yelling at him not too. So there is this big secret everybody knows but no one is supposed to talk about. Then crazy Bradley comes in scaring off Tilden and yelling at Dodge and frightening Shelly. Poor girl doesn’t know what to think and she’s there all by herself. I’d be freaking out too. For all Shelly...