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True West


Scene Nine

Summary Scene Nine

Mom's arrival on the scene reminds the audience and reader just how out of control things have gotten. The brothers have completely destroyed her kitchen, not merely in a literal sense, but also in that they have brought about a chaos that is unfamiliar and unwanted in the orderly life of the suburbs. Mom does not know how to respond to the upheaval that has arrived in her kitchen. Her reaction, however, is not nearly as severe as it should be. Rather than becoming outraged at the state of her home, she speaks about the fact that Picasso is coming to town. At first, this odd detail may seem incongruous in play about brothers fighting and reevaluating the American Dream. Picasso is the twentieth century's most endurable vision of the artist, the ideal of art that Austin and Lee are trying their best to emulate.

Mom is not able to deal with this new vision of chaos that has descended upon her kitchen. She leaves the house in disgust, heading for the relative normalcy of a motel. Lee decides he is going to leave for the desert as well, but this decision does not go over well with Austin, who views it as a very large breach of contract according to the deal he and Lee have established. When Austin takes up the phone cord, the two brothers' struggle for dominance comes to a final, shattering conclusion. Austin is not willing to be left behind in this suburban nightmare, as he needs the new promise of reevaluating his own self worth in the vacuum of the desert. He does not want to kill Lee, but merely wants to get his just desserts in the desert. Austin cannot allow his brother to leave him, as Lee is the key to Austin's attainment of new sense of himself. As the play ends, we are left with a haunting image of the two brothers facing off in what must surely become a fight to the death. It is impossible to say who will win. What is certain, however, is that the struggle will determine who can lay claim on a new identity, an identity appropriated from the other.