In what way do Austin and Lee represent the True West in Sam Shepard's play of the same name?

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grimmgirl | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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In Sam Shepard’s True West, the characters Lee and Austin both symbolize different aspects of the archetypical West. Austin represents the possibility of the West. When the play opens, it is clear that he is living the quintessential Californian/American dream. He is a successful screenwriter with a house, a wife, and children. He is living a comfortable life, albeit not a very adventurous one. Lee, on the other hand, symbolizes the freedom and wildness of the West. He is a free spirit who comes and goes as he pleases, beholden to no one. Lee is also an outlaw figure who steals what he wants to get by.






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