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A review of crimes of the heart by beth henley

  1. Caring for her grandfather as well as dealing with rumors about both her sisters in a small town where everyone knows each other's business has aged her emotionally well beyond her years.
  2. As in farce, the catastrophes come upon the characters so rapidly and bizarrely that one never quite takes them seriously; from the beginning, it is clear that the characters will eventually emerge from their difficulties more or less intact.
  3. While Lenny attempts to hold the family together, middle sister Meg has returned home amid rumors about their youngest sister Babe. This catalog of disasters suggests either pure farce or extravagant melodrama.
  4. Yet, Meg's shortcomings are nothing to Babe's.

Combined with Marsha Norman's Pulitzer for 'night, mother, Henley helped to usher in a new era for southern women's play writing. A compelling play with five distinct characters, Crimes of the Heart is memorable drama. Lenora "Lenny" McGrath is thirty and unmarried and living in her grandparents' Hazelhurst, Mississippi home. Brought up by h In 1980 Beth Henley won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for her Crimes of the Heart, a three act character study about three sisters in small town Mississippi.

Brought up by her grandparents following her mother's suicide, as the only unmarried sister, Lenny feels that it is her duty to care for her aging grandfather.

  1. The entire section is 1,799 words.
  2. To top that off, she must constantly deal with her first cousin Chick, a busy body who enjoys putting everyone in their place. This catalog of disasters suggests either pure farce or extravagant melodrama.
  3. Due to the nature of the set, Henley has written some asides and notes, but leaves the rest of off stage action for the audience to speculate about. Each sister has faced her share of hardships during her life, most notably the emotional baggage of their mother's suicide from which none has completely recovered twenty years later.
  4. Each of the MaGrath sisters has, in a different way, made a mess of her life. Brought up by h In 1980 Beth Henley won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for her Crimes of the Heart, a three act character study about three sisters in small town Mississippi.

Even though she is just thirty and in the prime of her life, Lenny appears worn down by her years, acting as though she is in her fifties rather than her thirties. Caring for her grandfather as well as dealing with rumors about both her sisters in a small town where everyone knows each other's business has aged her emotionally well beyond her years.

To top that off, she must constantly deal with her first cousin Chick, a busy body who enjoys putting everyone in their place.

While Lenny attempts to hold the family together, middle sister Meg has returned home amid rumors about their youngest sister Babe.

Crimes of the Heart

Both sisters have dealt with their share of issues in life, and, in their mid twenties, neither appears stable. Meg was supposed to be a star singer in Hollywood but could never handle breaking up with her boyfriend Doc, and on her return home, her life appears to be in disarray.

  • Due to the nature of the set, Henley has written some asides and notes, but leaves the rest of off stage action for the audience to speculate about;
  • Hovering over their personal failures is the enigmatic, frightening suicide of their mother;
  • On the heals of its Pulitzer, Crimes of the Heart was nominated for the Tony award in 1982.

Yet, Meg's shortcomings are nothing to Babe's. Married to Zackary Bardette, Hazelhurst's top lawyer and senator, Babe is often lonely and in need of emotional acceptance.

Crimes of the Heart Analysis

Starting an affair with fifteen year old Willie Jim, a colored boy, eventually leads Babe to shoot her husband and the town to start talking. Ironically, it is Meg who comforts Babe in this desperate hour and leads her out of immediate legal trouble. Henley has created three strong, yet emotional unstable characters in Lenny, Meg, and Babe.

  • Married to Zackary Bardette, Hazelhurst's top lawyer and senator, Babe is often lonely and in need of emotional acceptance;
  • Hovering over their personal failures is the enigmatic, frightening suicide of their mother;
  • Brought up by h In 1980 Beth Henley won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for her Crimes of the Heart, a three act character study about three sisters in small town Mississippi;
  • The entire three act play occurs in Lenny's kitchen, adding to the suspense of the moment.

Each sister has faced her share of hardships during her life, most notably the emotional baggage of their mother's suicide from which none has completely recovered twenty years later.

Coping in their own way by becoming a caregiver, running away, or marrying the town bigwig, each sister deals with the loss of their parents uniquely. The entire three act play occurs in Lenny's kitchen, adding to the suspense of the moment.

Due to the nature of the set, Henley has written some asides and notes, but leaves the rest of off stage action for the audience to speculate about. This setting combined with the strong characters has created a strong drama, worthy of its accolades. On the heals of its Pulitzer, Crimes of the Heart was nominated for the Tony award in 1982. A poignant character piece taking place in small town Mississippi, it is a play that I will remember for a long time.

Between Lenny, Meg, and Babe, the three women run the gamut of human emotions, creating a powerful drama that merited its Pulitzer. Although not at the level of some of the other Pulitzer winning plays I have read recently, Crimes of the Heart is a southern gritty play, which I highly recommend and rate 4 stars.