Response to “Buried Child” by Sam Shepard
We discover the second son, Bradley, cut off his leg in a chainsaw accident and can’t take care of himself either, the third son, Ansel, is dead; and all the while Halie is getting dressed to go out to with the preacher. This is all kind of humorous in itself. Well, this guy, Vincent, who claims to be the grandson, Tilden’s child, and his girlfriend Shelly show up. Apparently no one recognizes him. Not his father or grandfather. I’m kind of with Shelly that they should just leave, maybe come back later, but Vincent knows he’s not crazy even if Dodge and Tilden think he is.
I don’t understand this part really. Either Vincent is or isn’t part of the family and why don’t they recognize him especially if he’s only been gone 6 years. We never really find out the reason but after Vincent leaves the house to get Dodge some whiskey and comes back drunk, like almost everybody else is, the next morning they all of a sudden treat him like he never left. Weird! The whole time Vincent is gone poor old Shelly is in that house by herself with Dodge and Tilden.
Tilden keeps hinting at an awful thing that happened and tells her bits of the story but Dodge keeps yelling at him not too. So there is this big secret everybody knows but no one is supposed to talk about. Then crazy Bradley comes in scaring off Tilden and yelling at Dodge and frightening Shelly. Poor girl doesn’t know what to think and she’s there all by herself. I’d be freaking out too. For all Shelly knew, they had the right house and the wrong people. They could have been some crazy
Texas Chainsaw Massacre family and Vincent’s got the car. So, the next day rolls around and the sun is shining and Vincent isn’t back with the whiskey yet. Tilden ran off into the backyard, Bradley’s asleep on the couch and old man Dodge is on the floor. Shelly is making the best of it and tries to help out Dodge and made some soup but he just wants his whiskey. Then, Halie shows up with the preacher and they’re drunk too. She sure doesn’t like the fact that there’s a stranger in the house but won’t listen to what Shelly has to say.
But Shelly wants to know what the heck is going on with this crazy family so Dodge spills the beans so to speak about how he killed Halie’s baby and buried him in the backyard and things haven’t been the same since. He alludes to the fact that Tilden had something to do with it but I didn’t get that it could be Tilden’s baby but supposedly it is according to some information I read about the play on the internet. So now we’ve got incest, murder, and a huge cover up by the whole family. Maybe that’s why Tilden is the way he is because he went crazy with guild about the kid?
We don’t know. After Dodge lays it out there, Vincent crashes in all drunk saying how he was just going to keep driving and leave but couldn’t because he kept seeing old family ghosts in the reflection of the windshield so he had to come back. Now he’s hallucinating! Jeez, what is with these people? Then Dodge says he’s going to die, leaves the house to Vincent who gets rid of Bradley and calls him varmint, and Tilden is still nowhere to be found. Vincent starts acting like he’s the king of the castle and Dodges death goes unnoticed.
Shelly, thank goodness, gets the heck out of there and leaves Vincent. Vincent goes and lays on the couch with Dodges hat on acting like Dodge did in the beginning of the play. Then Tilden walks in carrying the remains of this little baby all wrapped in a blanket covered in mud and goes upstairs where his mother is. You hear Halie from upstairs talking about how the corn has grown and the sun is shining and maybe that’s all it took. And I’m guessing she means for things to get back to normal; but it’s all still strange.