Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Dodge, who is in his seventies, very thin, and sickly looking, with a chronic cough. He spends most of the play lying on the couch and later on the floor. He gradually weakens throughout the play and dies at the play’s end, after willing the house and property to his grandson Vince. Dodge apparently drowned an illegitimate child of his wife, Halie, and then buried the child, possibly conceived through incest, in the backyard, providing the play’s title and the source of the family curse. The curse may or may not be expiated by his death and the admission of guilt he makes during the play.


Halie, his wife, about sixty-five years old, with pure white hair. At the beginning of the play, she comes down from her room upstairs, veiled and dressed entirely in black, as if in mourning. She speaks primarily in monologues, seeming not to notice her family. In the last act, returning after spending the night away with Father Dewis, she has changed, perhaps symbolically, into a bright yellow dress, and her arms are full of yellow roses. She is slightly drunk and giddy, and she is more communicative than in the first act. At the end of the play, she returns to her room upstairs.


Tilden, their eldest son, in his late forties. He dresses plainly and has a burned-out expression. Apparently, he has suffered some psychological trauma, only vaguely alluded to but probably the result of either a...

(The entire section is 605 words.)

Buried Child Character Analysis

Buried Child Bradley

Bradley is Dodge and Halie's middle son and, accordingly, seems to have received the least attention and respect from his parents. As a...

(The entire section is 278 words.)

Buried Child Father Dewis

Father Dewis is the smallest part in the play, but he acts as an important foil to Halie. Claiming to be an upright Christian who abhors the...

(The entire section is 164 words.)

Buried Child Dodge

Dodge is one of the most important figures in the play. Once the strong, energetic, successful leader of the family and its farm, he is now...

(The entire section is 255 words.)

Buried Child Halie

Halie is the hypocritical, promiscuous mother and grandmother to the strange Midwestern clan of Buried Child. At the beginning of the...

(The entire section is 224 words.)

Buried Child Shelly

Along with Father Dewis, Shelly is an outsider in the play. She is Vince's girlfriend from New Jersey and has been brought along on his...

(The entire section is 215 words.)

Buried Child Tilden

Tilden is Dodge and Halie's eldest son and father to Vince. As a child, his parents expected great things from him. He was an All-American...

(The entire section is 265 words.)

Buried Child Vince

Vince is twenty-two, adventurous, and a sort of prodigal son figure in the play. After at least six years away, he has decided to take his...

(The entire section is 323 words.)