Buried Child

Analyzing Buried Child from a Feminist Point of View. 12th Grade

Sam Shepard’s play, ‘Buried Child’ presents a subversive view of the American dream and the nuclear family. A Midwestern family from the 1970s hold a corrosive secret that eats away at their sanity, as well as their relationships. The fragmented dialogue of the play disrupts reality, leaving the audience with several fractured versions of the truth. Shepard challenges dogmatic views and beliefs immortalized by the patriarchal society; he opposes the heteronormative definitions of gender. Critics suggest that Shepard is a misogynist as he tends to position the female characters to the sidelines of his plays. An example of this is in Act I, where Halie is a mere voice heard from offstage, suggesting that women do not even deserve stage time. Though, it could be also argued that Shepard is a feminist, as he gives the women; such as Shelly and Halie, power. The play explores many themes of gender performativity, cultural identity and the societal roles that the characters are expected to enact.

The play also explores the restrictive notions of gender and the artificial constructs of a patriarchal society. The contradictory nature of masculinity permeates itself into the narrative as male characters desperately clutch to their...

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