This is the central volume in Horton Foote’s remarkable nine-play Orphans’ Home Cycle, in which the author chronicles the evolution of a familythe strengths that bind its members together and the strains that force them apartand the cataclysmic changes in Southern society over twenty-six turbulent years. Beginning in 1902 with the death of the protagonist’s fathera loss that sends twelve-year-old Horace Robedaux on an odyssey to the darkest corners of the heartand ending in 1928 with another momentous funeral, Foote traces a lineage of loss and regeneration.Caught in a conflict as old as society itself, Elizabeth Vaughn is at once drawn and propelled toward Horace Robedaux. The proud and wealthy Vaughns frown on their daughter’s love for the orphaned clothing salesman, but the revolving mirrors of time turn and turn about, and both the Vaughns and the newly married Robedauxs are tested not only by their pride but also by the shadows of death and disease, and the more subtle pressures of their family’s and their society’s future.The Orphans’ Home Cycle (a title based on a poem by Marianne Moore) is a unique series of plays spanning thirty years in the lives of its central characters. Moving and complete as individual plays, the entire cycle is a panoramic and penetrating picture of American society during a crucial period in our history.
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