True West

by: Sam Shepard

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

I can't stay here. This is worse than being homeless.

Mom says these words before she leaves for her motel near the end of the play in Scene Nine. The motel is her safe haven away from the depraved, absurd setting that her kitchen has become, as she cannot cope with the bizarreness that has perpetrated her home. Mom is used to houseplants, fluorescent lights, and Formica. She has to get away from this vision of chaos and back to the normal world to which she is accustomed. In Shepard's world, however, one of the biggest sins a character can commit is losing touch with the land. Austin has an epiphany about his lack of intimacy with the land—an epiphany that motivates his ever-deepening urge to go to the desert. Mom is the character most cut off from the land in the whole play. The West, for Shepard, has become so orderly in the fashion Mom has tried to impose order on her home. Little of the old-West rough-and-ready days remain. Lee's return, however, infuses the kitchen with a sense of the chaotic, violent days of old. Mom, meanwhile, is firmly a character of the new West, the West of proper rodeos and the Safeway supermarket. Confronted with a vision of the old West, she is incapable of functioning within it. Rather than attempting to clean up her house, she retreats to the motel, where she knows there will be a sense of order. To her, worse than being homeless is seeing her home literally become the sort of chaos that the new West has desperately tried to keep out. Being cut off from the land carries a heavy price in Shepard's world, as we see in Mom's departure in self- exile, unable to cope with the new vision of order that her sons have shown her.