Symbolism Like No Other Play Essay

Symbolism Like No Other Play Essay

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“True West” captures symbolism like no other play. After critically analyzing objects and actions used to symbolize ideas in the play, the play had more meaning to it and its literal one. One character that seems to feature a great deal of symbolism is Lee. The play starts off by identifying Lee as a 40-year-old man who is wearing a “filthy white t-shirt” with a “tattered brown overcoat” (Shepard). The age and clothing symbolizes how unorganized and unmannered Lee’s lifestyle was. Having a “filthy” t-shirt represents a laid back, poor personality such that would belong in a “desert.”
Lee seems to be interested in “houses.” When Lee reveals that his period of stay “depends mostly on houses,” he symbolizes houses as a means of income. Houses are not portrayed as resting areas or places to reside, but as places where people store their belongings. He recognizes houses as means to get by in his life. Next, when Austin asks Lee if he would like to “sleep for a while,” Lee responds by saying “I don’t sleep.” Sleep in this scene also doesn’t symbolize resting or recovering, but it seeks to portray rationality. Sleep symbolizes using purpose and clarity to act sensibly. In this scene, since Lee is under the influence of alcohol and acts rather aggressively, Austin feels its best for Lee to “sleep for a while,” in order to restore his wisdom. However, Lee replies that he doesn’t sleep, thus symbolizing that his actions carry no significant justification nor understanding and such is his fate.
“When I’m eatin’ I’m home,” is another reference to houses by Lee. “Eating” symbolizes restoring nutrients in the body by consuming food and “home” represents a source for stealing other’s belongings. This dialogue reveals to the audience that Lee fu...

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...tantly bothers Austin in the first scene, he barges into the meeting of Austin and the director, Saul, and eventually breaks the news that Saul won’t be working on his play. Lee symbolizes the evil spirit in the play that haunts Austin and sidetracks him of his career and livelihood. The kitchen, in the last scene of the play, represents Lee successfully transforming the mother’s house into his own desert. The kitchen symbolized structure and order in the house; however, in the last scene the kitchen represents destruction and chaos, much like Lee’s “desert.” The “plants” which symbolized responsibility and life, as they were to be watered every day, are death and marks desolation. After Lee realized how disorganized the kitchen had become, he prepared to leave to his “desert” to find isolation and refuge. Such is his fate as he has no home and was always “adrift.”

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