Essay Symbolism in Sam Shepard's The Buried Child

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Symbolism in Sam Shepard's The Buried Child

In Sam Shepard’s The Buried Child there are numerous twists and turns that have the reader spinning and wanting more. Shepard develops a play that has a plethora of illusions, not only towards such works as Oedipus Rex, where he includes the theme of incest. He has also incorporated symbolic emasculation and Native American symbols of renewal with the abundance of vegetables in the backyard. At first glance, Buried Child seems as a typical Middle American family. Dodges one-track alcoholic mind, Halie’s pestering personality and Tilden’s distant relationship with his father all seems relatively typical of an elderly Middle America family. However, this is far from being the truth.
The
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He is living with his parents after getting in some sort of trouble in New Mexico and Halie, his mother, is abnormally protective of him, to the point where he is not allowed to do or say anything without the consent of Her or Dodge.
Halie (Dodge's wife, and in her mid-sixties) is constantly worrying about Tilden. It appears as though this is far more than a mother being protective of her children. It is as though she views him as being a little boy incapable of taking care of himself. Furthermore, Halie meeting with the communities minister to talk about a statue for her son Ansal who is dead; is somewhat disturbing. She is dressed in a black vale, long black gloves that go up to her elbows and a long black dress. It is as if she is going to a funeral for her lost son, instead of going to lunch with the minister to have a good time and talk about recognizing her son. In addition, the reader hears about the last son, Bradley, he has had a serious accident with a chain saw where he cut of his leg. This has strong symbolic meaning of emasculation. Not much is know about Bradley in the beginning of the play except of his amputation, he is the younger of the two sons and he comes over to cut Dodge's hair. By the time the beginning is over the reader should be able to see that something is wrong with the make up of this family. The façade that is being

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