analysis of crimes of the heart

  • A. Where is the play?
  1. Hazlehurst, Mississippi USA
  2. The scenes take place in the home of the Magrath sisters. (Actually, it’s their grandfather’s house, but it is cared for and inhabited primarily by Lenny Magrath.)
  3. The house is old, the exact age and condition are not described.
  • B. When is the play?
  1. The play takes place in the summer sometime during the late 19 ’70s to the early 1980s.
  2. The play takes place soon after the birthday of Lenny Magrath, which has a special significance to the characters.
  • C. Who is in the play?
  1. The 3 Magrath sisters, Lenny, Babe, and Meggy are the main cluster of characters. The other three characters are Chick, a Magrath cousin, Barnette, Babe’s attorney, and Doc Porter, an old friend of Meg and Lenny. A character that is often talked about is Granddaddy, yet he is never seen.
  2. The Magrath sisters complete the different portions that fulfill society’s image of an ordinary woman. Each of these women plays the roles that a normal woman plays such as wife, mother, daughter, and sister. Barnette is a lawyer who is defending Babe, whom he is infatuated with. Doc Porter is a father of two and a husband who once wanted to be a doctor, who now apparently owns a small ranch, he also spent time as a house painter. A granddaddy is an old man who is in the hospital.
  3. It seems that all the characters have mutual respect for each other, aside from Chick who has strong opinions concerning Meg. As I have mentioned the character of Barnette is infatuated with Babe. Babe and Lenny both feel that Meg has always been treated better by their Grandmother and Grandfather.
  4.  Lenny has a poor self-image.
  5. Characters all live in a democratic nation.
  6. The characters pay no attention to religion, it is rarely mentioned in the play. 6. The prevailing attitudes of the characters are that family is important, sex is not considered a bad thing. They seem to consider anything that can be rationally justified as ethical. They seem to live within these attitudes quite peacefully.
  • D. What happened before the play began?
  1. Long before the play began the Magrath sisters’ mother apparently hung herself along with her cat.
  2. After the mother’s death, the grandparents took custody of the girls.
  3. The grandmother died.
  4. The Magrath sisters were taken care of by the grandfather solely after that.
  5. Meg abandoned Doc Porter in Biloxi during a hurricane.
  6. Babe Married Botrelle.
  7. Lenny met her man from Memphis.
  8. Babe shot Botrelle.
  9. Lenny wired Meg telling her to come home.

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