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Retelling the Myth: Sam Shepard's True West and the Late Henry Moss

Harper, William L.
Sam Shepard's six family plays have so many striking similarities that one must ask "Is he rewriting the same plays over and over? If so why?" By comparing and contrasting the last play that appears in the cycle, The Late Henry Moss, with one representative of the previous five, True West, I will not only point out that he is indeed writing the same play but I will explain why. Shepard writes the same play six times with the main goal of debunking the myth of the American Family. By retelling his own account, or his own myth, he does away with the lie of a misremembered past that many hold on to and perpetuate by continually telling. When one compares and contrasts the plays many elements continue to appear in all, but the one truth that Shepard clings to is that we must be honest with our past, good or bad. If one comes from a bad childhood or family, trying to escape or deny one's identity or legacy is to fall into madness.