The Play

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

Set in Atlanta during the 1940’s through the 1970’s, Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Driving Miss Daisy, is an engaging drama that captures effectively the blossoming friendship between two unlikely characters—Miss Daisy, a wealthy, elderly Jewish widow, and Hoke, her African American chauffeur. Uhry explores the nuances of their growing personal affinity within the context of Atlanta, historically the locale of economic instability and significant civil rights activity. Proudly self-reliant, independent and sprightly, Miss Daisy is forced by her son, Boolie, to accept Hoke as her chauffeur. Boolie determines that she is incapable of driving herself after she backs her car into the garage of her neighbors, the Pollards. Although initially she is reluctant to accept Hoke’s services, Miss Daisy soon perceives that she has more in common with Hoke than she ever imagined. Within the first few days of their encounter, Hoke defines the parameters of their relationship when he says, “Miz Daisy, you needs a chauffeur and Lawd know, I needs a job. Let’s jes’ leave it at dat.” Hoke’s observation of their situation echoes Miss Daisy’s statement about Idella, her housekeeper: “She’s been coming to me three times a week since you [Boolie] were in the eighth grade and we know how to stay out of each other’s way.”

Uhry weaves the tapestry of their relationship deftly with incidents like one in which Miss Daisy accuses Hoke of eating her can of salmon without her permission and demands that Boolie have a talk with him but is deeply embarrassed when Hoke returns the next morning with a new can of salmon as replacement. This incident is similar to the morning of the ice storm, years later, when Hoke braves the storm to bring Miss Daisy her morning coffee from Krispy Kreme as he knows that she does not have electricity in her house. Such scenes define the rich texture of their relationship. Another such incident occurs when Hoke and Miss Daisy go to Alabama for her brother Walter’s ninetieth birthday. They get...

(The entire section is 841 words.)