August: Osage County

August: Osage County Imagery

This is the Way the World Ends

The final image of the play is a haunting one: Johnna singing a rather apocalyptic line from a T.S. Eliot poem as a kind of lullaby while Violet rests her head on her lap, mourning the fact that her family has abandoned her. It is an image of isolation, a haunting moment in which Violet's contemptuous treatment of her family has come back to bite her.

Physical Attack

At the family meal after Beverly's funeral, the Westons struggle to maintain the peace, as Violet needles everyone until Barbara can take no more and attacks her mother physically. The imagery evokes the years of pent up emotion and rage that she has felt against her mother and how the meal isn't a pleasant experience in this household—it's a war.

Shades on the Window

When we first see the Weston house, the only set piece in the play, the shades are drawn and there is duct tape around the edges to block out the light outside. This image shows that Violet has isolated herself and Beverly from the world, that she's become a drug addict, and as such, does not want to maintain normal hours or a connection to the world outside their house.

Beverly and Violet as roommates

After everyone else in the family has left, Barbara stays on with her mother, drinking throughout the day and wearing a nightgown that is very similar to her mother's. The image of the two Weston women in their nightgowns in the middle of the day shows the way that, in spite of her best efforts, Barbara is turning into her mother, drawn into a toxic and codependent dynamic.