Brighton Beach Memoirs

by Neil Simon

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Act II Summary

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This act takes place one week later. The household is in disarray because Jack has had a heart attack in the past week and is resting at home. Also, Blanche is getting ready for her date with Frank Murphy. Stanley sneaks into the house and talks to Eugene in their room. Stanley has lost his entire week's salary playing poker and is desperate about what to do.

Jack decides to get up and go downstairs to meet Blanche's date. Kate is appalled at her husband's disregard for his health, and they argue. Nora comes downstairs and leaves for her date, not wanting to see her mother. Blanche makes an appearance, and everyone present thinks she looks like a movie star. Jack sends Eugene and Laurie to get ice cream. Kate goes upstairs to ask Stanley for his pay so she can give emergency money to Blanche. Stanley tells her that he lost it in a poker game. Kate tries to remain calm and decides not to tell anyone about the matter until later.

Kate comes back into the kitchen in a very agitated state. Blanche is still worrying about Nora. Kate gets angry at Blanche for only focusing on her own problems. The sisters get into a fight which is interrupted by Laurie's return. On her way to get ice cream, Frank Murphy's mother gave the girl a note. Frank had a car accident and will not be able to keep their date because he is in the hospital. This leads to another argument between Kate and Blanche. Kate expresses her resentment at Blanche for things that go back to their childhood. Blanche decides that she will move out and live with a friend while she looks for a job. When she has a job, she tells Kate, she will take her daughters and move into her own home.

Eugene is sent upstairs to get Stanley and Laurie for dinner. Stanley demands money from Eugene in case he has to sleep out that night. Stanley has decided to join the Army because he might be able to make more money that way. Eugene becomes very upset, but Stanley still leaves. Eugene cannot tell his family about where Stanley has gone during dinner. After the meal, he tells Laurie.

Several hours later, Blanche waits outside for Nora to return. Blanche tells Nora about her decision. Nora tells her that she feels that Blanche does not care for her as much as she does Laurie. They make an awkward peace. Kate comes downstairs because of the noise, and Kate asks Blanche not to leave. Kate convinces Blanche to stay while she looks for work.

The next day, Stanley comes back just in time for dinner. Stanley says he passed the physical, but he could not join up knowing how much the family needed him at home. Stanley and Jack talk. Stanley made some money at a bowling alley, which he gives to his mother. He promises to make up the rest. Jack tells him that war is coming.

Upstairs, Stanley gives Eugene a present: a postcard with a naked woman on it. Eugene is overwhelmed. Jack gets a letter saying that his cousin and family have escaped Poland and are coming to New York City. He begins making plans for fitting the extra family members into the house.

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Act I Summary