August: Osage County

Emotional Damage to the Three Weston Daughters in August: Osage County College

In Tracy Letts’ play August: Osage County, each of the Weston daughters—Barb, Ivy, and Karen—shows evidence of deeply rooted emotional damage. A large amount of the emotional damage the girls have can be attributed to their upbringing, and being treated so harshly by their mother, Violet. Although all three daughters experience emotional damage at the hands of their mother, each reacts differently to it, and the repercussions of the emotional damage manifests themselves in varying ways in each daughter.

The youngest of the Weston daughters, Karen, displays emotional damage because of the lack of attention she received from Violet as a child. Violet’s neglect of Karen appears multiple times during the dinner scene. The first time occurs when Violet mentions the sideboard in her dining room. She initially addresses Barb, asking, “you have any interest in that?” (Letts 86). When Barb does not express interest, Violet turns to Ivy, who says the same thing. Throughout the conversation, Karen intermittently says that she thinks the sideboard is “really pretty” (Letts 86). However, she receives no acknowledgment and is passed over by her mother. This interaction shows Karen’s underlying need to be noticed by her mother, because of the...

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