How I Learned to Drive Analysis

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Play Critical Analysis In the play, “How I Learned to Drive”, Paula Vogul introduces two characters- an uncle (Uncle Peck) and his niece (Lil Bit) - who has an abnormal relationship with one another. Vogul uses the techniques of the uncle showing his niece how to drive in a literal sense, however it is interpreted as another meaning as well. There are many messages and themes in this play, one of which is family dysfunction. The play focuses on the main character, Lil Bit, as she goes through many difficult and emotional decisions. Lil Bit recalls memories of emotional manipulation and sexual molestation, all of which are tied together with driving lessons all from her Uncle Peck. She goes back when she was eleven years old, the first time her uncle molested her. She sits on his lap, and he shows her how to hold the steering wheel correctly. However, as she does this, he feels her breasts. Although Uncle Peck did that to Lil Bit, there was no anger from her towards him. It was kind of like she accepted it, or she didn’t know any better because this was her uncle- it was family. It’s strange because not only was Uncle Peck preying on his niece, he was also her mentor and teacher whose driving lessons gave her the ability to realize her identity as an individual. Though some will view his actions as disturbing or perverted, we see he is not genuinely happy in his current state, he doesn't push Lil bit, but instead lets her make the decisions. He mentions several times “he’d never do anything she didn’t want him to do”. He gave her the strength, confidence, and power that eventually allowed her to reject him. Vogul incorporates driving into this play because while driving, that is the only time Uncle Peck won’t touch Lil Bit. While all of this is going on, it brings up the question “why wasn’t anyone informed any of this was happening?” This goes back to the theme

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