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The very start of the play “True West,” Shepard visually describes each Austin and Lee as being visual opposites.This sets the reader to view the characters at face value from the early start.
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.
, Sam Shepard explores a heated brother rivalry between Austin and Lee, where order and mundane typewriting madly spiral into toaster theft, golf smashing, and chaos.
As the brothers clash, their juxtaposing personalities and values of the new West’s tranquility and the old West’s wildness diverge, reverse, and finally fuse.
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!Through the comical personality reversal, Shepard exemplifies the unhealthiness of a separation of passion and reason from one another.Lee explodes with passion with his Western story, but “struggle[s]”with the absence of Austin’s diligence.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).American history teaches us that, going west has always been a regarded as progression.From the earliest settlers to the “new land” to the idea of Manifest Destiny, progressive movement and thinking has always traveled west.Through the blurred dichotomy of the brothers’ identities, Shepard dynamically examines man’s double nature to suggest that a balanced amalgam of the psyche’s new West order and old West rambunctiousness may ultimately pave way for an enhanced emergence of identity, the discovery of the true West.True West, by Sam Shepard, directed by Daniel Goldstein at the Williamstown Theatre Festival 7/15-7/26/09 Set Design: Neil Patel Costume Design: Linda Cho Lighting Design: Ben Stanton © T Charles Erickson photoshelter.com/c/tcharleserickson " data-medium-file="https://moosmosis.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/truewestwtf460g.jpg?Austin rolls with intelligence, but “sits sprawled,” with the defeat of his own script and lack of creativity.Shepard further examines this dissonance through Lee’s script on two men “ridin’ straight into the night…[who] don’t know where the other one is taking him” (29).