August: Osage County | Study Guide

Tracy Letts

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "August: Osage County Study Guide." Course Hero. 1 Dec. 2019. Web. 27 Nov. 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/August-Osage-County/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2019, December 1). August: Osage County Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 27, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/August-Osage-County/

In text

(Course Hero, 2019)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "August: Osage County Study Guide." December 1, 2019. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/August-Osage-County/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "August: Osage County Study Guide," December 1, 2019, accessed November 27, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/August-Osage-County/.

August: Osage County | Character Analysis

Share
Share

Barbara

Barbara lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her teenaged daughter, Jean. She is in the process of separating from her unfaithful husband, Bill, a university professor who is having an affair with one of his students. Barbara once had ambitions of being a writer, ambitions her father thought she had the talent to realize. But instead she became a faculty wife, like her mother.

Violet

Violet is a sharp-tongued woman who has raised three daughters, Barbara, Ivy, and Karen. A lifelong smoker, at the start of the play she is suffering from mouth cancer and has become addicted to prescription drugs, not for the first time. She prides herself on telling the often unkind truth, but she never talked to her husband about his love affair or the child he fathered, Little Charles.

Beverly

Beverly Weston is an alcoholic who takes his own life at the start of the play, leaving his wife, three grown daughters, and extended family to deal with the consequences. Beverly grew up poor and was homeless for a time. He becomes a successful poet and professor, although he never liked teaching and eventually his talent for writing dries up.

Ivy

Ivy is the daughter who dutifully remains unmarried and at home while her sisters, Barbara and Karen, go on to build new lives far away. Taking care of the aging Beverly and Violet has fallen to Ivy, and she is bitter about it. She hopes to find happiness in New York with Little Charles, who turns out to be her half-brother.

Karen

Karen has a new relationship every year, and she is unreasonably optimistic about her prospects with her latest fiancé, the sleazy, unworthy Steve, who has already been married three times. She is self-absorbed, prattling about her honeymoon while the family gathers to bury her father, Beverly.

Mattie Fae

Mattie Fae seems devoted to her sister, Violet, but she once had an affair with Violet's husband, Beverly. Her only son, Little Charles, is Beverly's child. Some combination of anger or sorrow over the affair seems to have left her permanently disappointed in her son, Little Charles, whom she treats with scorn.

Little Charles

Bumbling and inept, Little Charles has never learned to drive and can't hold down a job for long. His nickname shows the low regard in which most of the family holds him, as if he were a permanent child. Little Charles's lack of confidence seems to come from the scorn with which his mother, Mattie Fae, treats him.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about August: Osage County? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!