Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
The Old Man
The Old Man, who may or may not be the ne’er-do-well father of Eddie and May by different mothers. Of indeterminate age, he is not a living character and exists only in the minds of Eddie and May, who communicate directly with him at their discretion. The Old Man, dressed in Western clothing, complete with Stetson hat, sits in a rocking chair throughout the play and sips whiskey that he pours from a bottle into a Styrofoam cup. He claims to be married to country singer Barbara Mandrell and stares at what he says is her picture on an empty wall in the rundown motel where all the action takes place. The patriarch does not seem to like his children very much; he says of them, “I don’t recognize myself in either one a’ you. . . . You could be anybody’s. Probably are.” He is a specterlike figure, a kind of perverse Greek chorus who argues with Eddie and May until the end, when they leave and he is left alone, staring at the empty wall. It is possible that he is the only real individual and has invented the whole episode, with the other characters being figments of his imagination.
Eddie, an ornery rodeo stuntman in his late thirties. He is dressed in his working clothes, and his smell indicates his need of a bath. The cowboy is the former lover and half brother of May. Eddie is obsessed with May. To find her, he has traveled 2,480 miles with his pickup truck and horse trailer. For fifteen years, he has had an intense love-hate relationship with May, usually breaking it off because he is always chasing someone new. Women seem...
(The entire section is 654 words.)
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