Document Type



Bachelor of Arts in English


James Tackach, Ph.D.


David Rabe’s absurdist play Sticks and Bones (1971) reflects the values of society in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. Rabe’s play tells the story of David, a Vietnam veteran blinded in the war, who returns home. He is, however, unable to peacefully re-assimilate with his own family. Displaying symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, David represents the reality of the veteran of that time as the outsider or "the other" whose own sense of reality is in direct conflict with the "Leave it to Beaver" reality endorsed by his own family. During this clash of realities, David’s outbursts become more violent and hurtful, which leads his family to react in a negative manner. Using David as representative of many Vietnam veterans, Sticks and Bones portrays the trauma of Vietnam veterans returning home in the 60s and 70s.