Vince, Tilden’s son, arrives at the farm house but nobody recognizes him. When Vince brings his girlfriend, Shelly, home to meet his family, she is at first charmed by the “normal” looking farm house. Bizarrely, no one seems to remember Vince at first, and they treat him as a trespasser and imposter. Ultimately, they reluctantly agree on acknowledging him as a part of their greatly dysfunctional family. Slowly and gradually, the dark secret that the old couple has been hiding from their children and grandchildren starts to pop out like a seed grows and the plant pops out tearing the earth. Long time back, Dodge buried an unwanted child (the product of an incest relationship between Tilden and his mother) in an undisclosed location. From that point onward, the entire family lived under a cloud of shame that is at last chased away when Tilden discovers the ill-fated child’s remains and carries it upstairs to his mother. This act seems to wash out the family of its curse. Corn grows in the fields where nothing would grow for years. The play ends with a declaration of hope from Halie. (Theatre)
The most important symbol used in the play is the rain, that lets the crops in the field grow. At the beginning of the play rain falls on the family’s farmhouse and all its visitors, washing away the dirt and the smell and, symbolically, the sins of their past. Some of the most powerful symbols in this play are associated with nature and fertility. The dead land where no crops have grown forever symbolizes Halie. It suggests that Halie was past menopause. The rain that brought the land to life and vegetation and plant life popped out of the dead earth. This particularly symbolizes Tilden’s potential of conceiving a child with his own middle aged mother. Tilden handles to reap the bare fields. (Amazon)
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