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August: Osage County | Study Guide

Tracy Letts

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Course Hero. "August: Osage County Study Guide." Course Hero. 1 Dec. 2019. Web. 31 Jan. 2023. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/August-Osage-County/>.

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Course Hero. (2019, December 1). August: Osage County Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/August-Osage-County/

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Course Hero. "August: Osage County Study Guide." December 1, 2019. Accessed January 31, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/August-Osage-County/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "August: Osage County Study Guide," December 1, 2019, accessed January 31, 2023, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/August-Osage-County/.

August: Osage County | Act 3, Scene 4 | Summary

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Summary

It is daytime, two weeks after Act 3, Scene 3. Barbara and Sheriff Gilbeau are in the living room. Sheriff Gilbeau has come to talk to Barbara about something, but first they chat and reminisce. Barbara compliments Gilbeau on the way he has "filled out." She mentions, in passing, that she's having a hot flash and that soon she will be divorced. Sheriff Gilbeau is also divorced now. Barbara speaks disparagingly of her daughter, calling her a nymphomaniac and deriding her name as "stupid." Gilbeau asks Barbara if they might get lunch together one day. "Mm-hmm," Barbara answers noncommittally. At the end of the scene Sheriff Gilbeau comes out with the reason he came to talk to Barbara. He has learned Beverly stayed in the Country Squire Motel for the first two nights he was missing. They ponder whether he was trying to gather the courage for suicide or trying to talk himself out of it. Before Sheriff Gilbeau leaves, he and Barbara share an awkward kiss.

Analysis

This brief scene fills in some of the mystery of Beverly's disappearance by filling in the timeline. There is also an ambiguous resolution of the attraction between Sheriff Gilbeau and Barbara in the awkward kiss that concludes the scene. However, the scene's chief function seems to set up the revelation at the climax of the play that Violet had neglected to make any effort to save Beverly. Once the audience knows Beverly was in a motel, it is prepared to learn Violet also knew this. But the shocking revelation that she made no attempt to talk her husband out of suicide doesn't come until the next scene. Throughout the play, Beverly's intentions in the last days of his life remain a mystery.

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