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However, his brother Lee, a skilled drunken thief, continuously wears a “filthy white t-shirt, tattered…two day’s growth of beard,” embodying Austin’s opposite extreme, the Dionysian nature of spontaneityand chaos (1).As Austin continues to studiously work on his script and Lee passionately steals television sets, Shepard highlights both their physical and ideological juxtapositions.
Delineate how the brothers change roles over the course of the play. Discuss the significance and meaning of the title True West.
Discuss the distinction between "art" and "business" Shepard makes in the play.
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Only one man exists, and that is the old, new, and ultimately true Western man. This essay or any portion thereofmay not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoeverwithout the express written permission of the publisher.
Please Like our Facebook page to support our open-access youth education initiatives!Yet, Shepard also delineates these sharp dichotomies as the source of their identity incompletions.In Scene 7, Lee is seen “struggling to type with one finger,”while Austin “sits sprawled…drunk” (38).Austin, is in his early thirties wears a cardigan sweater, clean jeans and white tennis shoes, while Lee, the older brother, tattered brown overcoat covered with dust, pants from the salvation army, dress shoes that are scuffed up, no socks no hate with bad teeth.( 1703) This represents the east and west point of views.The true paradise that Lee discusses is neither the old West nor the new West but the blurred balance between the two, where order and rationality and chaos and creativity are fused together.Thus, through the divergence and convergence of Austin and Lee, Shepard explores the fluid spectrum of identities: the consequences of an unbalance and the enhancements of a blurred balance.Through the siblings’ understanding that “we’re the same person” and “just sorta’ echo each other,” Shepard illuminates that their clashing Apollonian and Dionysian personalities are not separate from each other but rather two halves of the same man, the same artist (39, 42).Unlike their parents, with Mom in cold Alaska and Dad in the sweltering desert, the brothers revolve harmoniously in a “ring of truth” (37).Austin “scribble[s] notes desperately with a ballpoint pen,” as Lee speaks, “walking a slow circle around” (53).The brothers harmonize intellect, “pen,” with emotion, “speak,” ultimately catalyzing the emergence of not only their Western script but also their enhanced identities as a balanced one.