Driving Miss Daisy Summary

Summary

The play spans a period of twenty-five years in an unbroken series of segments. At the beginning of the play, Daisy Werthan, a seventy-two-year-old, southern Jewish widow, has just crashed her brand-new car while backing it out of the garage. After the accident, her son Boolie insists that she is not capable of driving. Over her protests, he hires a driver—Hoke Coleburn, an uneducated African American who is sixty. At first, Daisy wants nothing to do with Hoke. She is afraid of giving herself the airs of a rich person, even though Boolie is paying Hoke's salary. She strongly values her independence, so she also resents having someone around her house.

For the first week or so of Hoke's employment, Daisy refuses to let him drive her anywhere. He spends his time sitting in the kitchen. One day, however, he points out that a lady such as herself should not be taking the bus. He also points out that he is taking her son's money for doing nothing. Daisy responds by reminding Hoke that she does not come from a wealthy background, but she relents and allows him to drive her to the grocery store. She insists on maintaining control, however, telling him where to turn and how fast to drive. On another outing, she gets upset when he parks in front of the temple to pick her up, afraid that people will thinking she is giving herself airs.

One morning Boolie comes over after Daisy calls him up, extremely upset. She has discovered that Hoke is stealing from her—a can of salmon. She wants Boolie to fire Hoke right away. Her words also show her prejudice against African Americans. Boolie, at last, gives up. When Hoke arrives, Boolie calls him aside for a talk. First, however, Hoke wants to give something to Daisy—a can of salmon to replace the one he ate the day before. Daisy, trying to regain her dignity, says goodbye to Boolie.

Hoke continues to drive for Daisy. She also teaches him to read and write. When she gets a new car, he buys her old one from the dealer.

When Daisy is in her eighties, she makes a trip by car to Alabama for a family birthday party. She is upset that Boolie will not accompany her, but he and his wife are going to New York and already have theater tickets. On the trip, Daisy learns that this is Hoke's first time leaving Georgia. Suddenly, Daisy realizes that Hoke has taken a wrong turn. She gets...

(The entire section is 963 words.)