Character Analysis Honey


From the viewpoint of the actress playing the role, Honey is a choice part. The role has received accolades from the audiences of both theater and film. Sandy Dennis won an Academy Award as the best Supporting actress for her performance of Honey in the film version of the drama.

We know very little about Honey. We hear from Nick that her father was some type of minister (or evangelist) who amassed a considerable amount of money. We know that Honey and Nick were childhood "sweethearts" and that she apparently became pregnant before marriage. Whether or not it was a hysterical pregnancy which "went away" after her marriage or a real pregnancy which she had aborted, we can never be sure. George, in one scene, assumes that she aborted her pregnancy and that she has either continued to have abortions or else continually takes some type of birth control pill. From her own comments, we know that she is terribly afraid to have children because she is exceptionally afraid of the pain involved in childbirth.

Honey is either fey, childlike, or drunk in almost every scene. In view of the fact that she refuses to face the reality of childbearing, it therefore follows that her actions are those of an adult child, and her husband, Nick, will often treat her as one by trying to protect her from certain language, from sexual references, and by constantly overseeing her actions. Her childlikeness is further emphasized by her habit of gurgling, being obtuse to the reality of the situation around her, and ultimately, by curling up in a fetal position when she is drunk and peeling the labels off liquor bottles.

As a result of the activities of the night, Honey has apparently undergone some sort of change. Whether or not it is a permanent catharsis or a temporary change, we do not know. We are aware however, that Honey suddenly changes her mind and wants to have children. "I want a child," she cries as they leave. This is a complete change from the Honey who told George about an hour earlier that she wanted no children.

In the final analysis, we cannot be sure how much of the events of the evening Honey is aware of. Whereas Nick comes to a complete recognition that George and Martha have been talking about an imaginary child, we cannot be certain that Honey has understood this. Finally, we realize that Honey has stood outside the main stream of the action for the entire evening, inhabiting, essentially, her own private world of brandy, peeling labels, and solo dancing.

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