Buried Child Questions and Answers
by Sam Shepard

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In "Buried Child," what are the most prominent themes?

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Madeleine Wells eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The most prominent themes in the play are disillusionment with the American Dream, the devastating impact of the past, and the link between hypocrisy and self-deception.

Sam Shepard begins his play by highlighting a disintegrating family unit. Dodge is the patriarch; he's an alcoholic in his late seventies and is described as "very thin and sickly-looking." Dodge's physical appearance mirrors his impoverished family's degradation. There is little affection between Dodge and his wife, Halie; in essence, they share an adversarial relationship.

Halie treats Dodge with open contempt, and it is obvious that she is deeply disappointed with Dodge. We later learn that Halie is not the paragon of virtue she portrays herself to be. She is presently having an affair with Father Dewis, and years ago, she had an incestuous relationship with Tilden, one of her sons. The product of this relationship was a baby who was subsequently drowned by Dodge, Halie's husband.

By Act Two, some major themes become...

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lemcguigan | Student

The loss of the American dream is one of the most prominent.  Refer to the Wikipedia page of Buried Childif you are not subscribed to eNotes.