The Old Man keeps them company when they are alone and yet haunts them His

The old man keeps them company when they are alone

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Eddie and moving slowly across the walls of the room alone. The Old Man keeps them company when they are alone and yet haunts them. His presence is a reminder of their complicated past and the shame of their incestuous relationship. His drinking habit is repeated in the aggressive drinking of May and Eddie and his two-timing is repeated in Eddie's poor juggling of his relationship with both May and the Countess. The Old Man offers different points of view on May and Eddie's past and for the most part denies any fault in their present troubled state. He calls Eddie "a fantasist," perhaps a reference to Sam Shepard's father's attitude towards his son's role as a playwright who imagines things for a living and also Eddie's characteristic of being an idealist who imagines a better future for himself and is possible of believing in his own illusions. The Old Man believes in illusions himself and that trait is repeated in May and Eddie. When he was younger, the Old Man convinced himself he could balance two lives without consequences. Now he believes that the unattainable woman of his dreams, Barbara Mandrell a picture in his imagination, is his wife. That is the perfect solution for the Old Man, to be content with a pretty fictional life that is pleasing to the imagination and impossible to hold on to for long. Themes, Motifs, and Symbols Themes A Cycle of Abandonment and Returning At the beginning of the play, May sits in silent protest to what she considers to be Eddie's unfair, badly timed, and surprising return to her life. Eddie shows up in May's life right when she thought she was over Eddie. To her, his arrival rips open healing wounds that she was trying to forget. May prevents Eddie from getting close to her again because she resents him for leaving her alone in the trailer and having an affair with the Countess behind her back while promising to come back soon—a promise she thinks he makes frequently and never fulfills. Though May is furious at Eddie for abandoning her alone in the middle of nowhere, she is proud of the steps she has taken to live on her own in a new place in a new town. Eddie's return to her makes her hate him because it brings up all of the pain he has caused her and reminds her of her love for Eddie. May's love for Eddie also hurts because she knows it is a love that can never exist for long in peace. Because of their blood relation and their fiery spirits, Eddie and May are constantly haunted by their past. They challenge each other bitterly and know all of the right buttons to push to get each other's goat. Their love for each other is a competition to be the least vulnerable, the least needy, and the most willful and strong, yet their desire and love for each other makes them reveal their weaknesses to each other. Eddie's return troubles May because right when she thought she could live without Eddie, he has confirmed her belief in her need for him. Ironically, that need is so painful that she knows she needs him to go away. Throughout the play she swings back and forth from asking Eddie

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