The Play

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

The Indian Wants the Bronx is a one-act play that opens with a bewildered East Indian, who speaks no English, attempting to negotiate the complexities of an American urban setting. As he attempts to decode the unfamiliar landscape and find his way to his son’s Bronx apartment, two young street toughs, who epitomize self-absorbed ignorance, arrive on the scene and begin to taunt him. They enter singing a song that depicts the world as a lonely and indifferent place. As the play progresses, it becomes clear that they come from unstable families and have a social worker who is attempting to rehabilitate them. Israel Horovitz makes it clear, however, that the institutions that are supposed to be assisting them have failed to reach them and that they are, accordingly, loose cannons with no real direction in life. They seem to wander the streets because they lack better alternatives.

From their first appearance onstage, Murph and Joey engage in juvenile banter that makes them appear even younger than they are. Despite their ostensible friendship, they communicate on a relatively elementary level and punctuate their conversations with crude sexual innuendo and street slang. Their reactions to Gupta highlight their stereotypic thought patterns and their provincial perspectives. Both their words and their actions leave the audience with the impression that the boys are bored and frustrated and are randomly venting their rage, which is fueled by their...

(The entire section is 548 words.)