Crimes of the Heart
The play, "Crimes of the Heart," written by Beth Henley, is brilliantly charming, and Henley is completely deserving of her Pulitzer-Prize for this piece. My father suggested I read this play because she says that I am very much like one of the main characters Lenny McGrath, and she said that I would be able to relate to many parts of the story. I found that the beginning of the play was somewhat slow
and not very uplifting, but as the play progressed, I found it to be heart-warming, intriguing, and overall very entertaining. Henley, being from the South herself, wrote many of her plays in a small southern town setting. The intended meaning of this play is one that can be interpreted in many ways, depending on the reader, but what I believe to be the meaning, that the author was trying to send across, was to simply share the story of three sisters, who no matter how far misunderstandings, quarrels, or rages stretch the bonds between them, the sisters always bounce back to the core of their family which is love. Though they go through many hardships, including sibling conflicts, personal problems and the inevitable death of their grandfather, through everything, family proves to be a very important key factor in their difficult lives. The bond formed between the members of your own family is one of the most "solid" things in life, and in turn should always be something you can count on. The plays' title "Crimes of the Heart," relates directly to the play in many key ways that Henley makes evident as the play progresses. The three sisters, all lead very separate lives and are very individual in their characters and personalities but all, in one way or another, commit "crimes of the heart." But I believe that the title is derived directly from Babe's situation. She has the most problems, from an abusive husband, to trying to find love in a secret relationship with a 15 year old black boy named Willie Jay. When her husband, Zachary Botrelle, discovers this relationship, Babe attempts to kill him and is placed on trial for this attempted homicide. The title is thus derived. However, it is also, I believe, a crime not to follow your heart's desires. The play had allotted of meaning, to me in particular, because I in a way am like Lenny, the eldest sister. I am, as she is, the glue in the family. I am the one who helps and puts forth much effort to keep the family bonds strong. My brother is going through a difficult battle with a brain tumor, and through these unimaginable and unexplainably hard times that my family is experiencing, I have had to be the emotionally strong one, pulling my parents together for my little brothers' sake. Having to watch my parents come apart and lose it in front of me, the two people who are supposed' to keep us, the children, from falling apart, and be strong for us, has been a an experience which has tested my emotional and physical limits. I am not bitter towards them in any way, but it has been a burden that I, at 20 years old, and being a college student, was not ready to take on, and it has been a test of my overall strength. But I am grateful to have had my other sister there to help ease the pain for my family when I cannot be with them. Lenny, in the play, is the one of the three sisters, who
willingly took on the responsibility of caring for their dying grandfather. She is also the one who has kept the three sisters together. Her character is one that I admire for many reasons. There is one major difference between the two of us, which is that I am not an overall unhappy person. She made her misery her life, when it should have just been issues that she had to deal with and move on from like most people do. I believe that the audience can relate to many parts of the play in one way or another. Whether it is having dealt with death of a close family member, or a relative that share some of the qualities of the three sisters. Beth Henley was a southern...
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