August: Osage County Play Analysis Essay
August: Osage County written by Tracy Letts in 2007 is no easy feat. The chaos of Beverly Weston and Violet Weston sets up the snowball effect of this drama. The heartbreak of the accidental or probable suicide of Beverly Weston causes an abrupt reunion amongst this dysfunctional family including Karen Weston, the youngest of three siblings, who moves on from her family like her eldest sister. She tries to be upbeat for the sake of her family no matter how critical the situation is. Karen is so desperate to make amends with her broken soul that she has not only managed to find a fiance to fill her emotional void but justifies Steve’s inappropriate interactions with Jean later on in the play.
Karen has to deal with the difficult feat of developing her own life while also having to take care of herself. Through all of the sporadic detailing and motion through this play, Karen manages to remain upbeat. She claims, “I feel very connected, to the both of you… But I still feel that connection!” (Letts, 1801). She even goes out of her way to get close and console her mother, “You’re not nasty-mean. You’re our mother and we love you” (Letts, 1801). Despite her optimism, she also struggles to genuinely be a part of the Weston family. She states, “I wasn’t there… God, I’ve never heard that story” (Letts, 1800), “I didn’t know that” (Letts, 1801). Karen is complicated because she uses her personality to mask her real feelings of exclusion. Despite feeling connected, she also feels left out. She is presented as an interpreter by Letts who houses her in Florida. Her return to Oklahoma is an artificial attempt to reinsert her into the family.
Although all characters within August: Osage County can be described as broken in one form, Karen however really gives her dignity up to feel like a part of the family even if she has to stand for herself and herself alone. After her fiancé is accused of making moves and touching and kissing her niece Jean, instead of jumping to her niece she retreats to her soon-to-be husband. She claims, “‘Cause I doubt Jean’s exactly blameless in all this. And I’m not blaming her. Just because I said she’s not blameless, that doesn’t mean I’ve blamed her. I’m saying she might share in the responsibility. You understand me?” (Letts, 1806). Karen is desperate that she is willing to justify Steve’s actions by vilifying Jean. She feels that whatever she has conjured up with Steve is far more beneficial, in her favor, or perhaps even important as opposed to the idea that Jean was almost molested by her fiancé.
Out of the entire Weston family, Karen has to deal with the most shame. As the first to leave her home after the whole ordeal with her family breaking apart after her father’s death, she knows that this pitiful road that her family has put her on the path to is one that she cannot handle. She breaks down in tears, “I’m not defending him. he’s not perfect… I may even have to do some things I’m not proud of again. ‘Cause sometimes life puts you in a corner that way. And I am a human being after all” (Letts, 1806). She knows her truths but keeps them undermined as she tries to spare herself any hurt to make way for the “great” opportunity she might have at a real-life with her fiancé Steve. She even pushes herself away from the fact that she might not be too important in her own family as signaled by her quick exit in the middle of the night. Karen tries and tries again, but she is shut out. Being a true outsider of this family is perhaps the best position to occupy.