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September 12, 2005

Young Woman & Karen

YOUNG WOMAN. But I can't go on like this. Ma - I don't know why - but I can't - it's like I'm all tight inside - sometimes I feel like I'm stifling!

This part reminded me of Karen in "Heart in the Ground" when she takes off her shoes and says that she doesn't know what to do when she can't feel what is beneath her. I think Karen and the young woman would be able to relate to one another. They both seem like characters that are misunderstood by the other characters in their respective plays.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at September 12, 2005 11:18 PM


Good connection, Lorin -- they're both touched by madness. Yet they have very different attitudes towards their husbands and children. In what ways are they alike? Would anyone else like to jump in?

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 13, 2005 12:40 AM

Karen loved her child and her husband. Young Woman doesn't like either.

They're both rebeling against the conventions of society. Karen goes against the laws of society by wanting to bury her child on her land. Young Woman goes against the expectations of society (Ex: women are suppose to actually like the children they have and want to be affectionate toward their husbands).

They're also both accused of being crazy - Karen by her brother, and Young Woman by her mother.

Posted by: Kayla Sawyer at September 13, 2005 9:01 PM

I do think that both women are portrayed in the same light. However in "Heart in the Ground" Karen's 'tantrum' was caused by guilt and lose of control over what happened to her daughter's fate. In "Machinal" she was a troubled women, which we have no specific evidence of what caused her 'craziness' and she was nervous about the situation. In no way does Karen display nervousness because of her fate.

Posted by: Gina at September 14, 2005 9:44 PM

The following responses to this entry were put on the course website, but I decided it would be helpful to paste them here with the others.


(Couldn't post on Lorin's Blog. So hear my response)

I agree, but I also think that unlike Karen the Young Woman is the one who misunderstands herself. Let me explain. Throughout Machinal, she tried to do everything that other people think is right. On the hand, Karen doesn't care what anybody else think.
Posted by: Kevin Hinton at September 13, 2005 09:59 AM

Kevin, I think you are right. They are very different in that way. Karen is misunderstood because she knows what she wants and will do whatever she has to, but the others (aka Lee) can't understand what she wants (at least at first) because they are in the dark about certain parts of her past. And you're right, she doesn't care what anyone else thinks.
The Young Woman on the other hand, is confused about what she wants and so she turns to others to try to figure out what she should want. And because of her own confusion about who she is, the others also are unable to interptret her, so she is also misunderstood.
Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at September 13, 2005 11:57 AM

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at October 2, 2005 2:43 AM

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