To Whose Homecoming Does The Play Refer?
In the play ‘The Homecoming’ by Harold Pinter, a family deals with the unexpected return of the eldest son and his wife, Ruth, on a visit from America. The rest of the family were unaware that Teddy had taken a wife. The arrival had a profound effect on each member of the family who are an unusual group consisting of an aging father, his two sons and his younger brother. Because of this unexpected event we see the intricacies of the relationships of the family and how these develop and change. The homecoming does not necessarily bring about change in a good way if viewed as a whole. If certain characters are looked at individually though, we see many things that happen are positive for that person.
The play would seem to centre around Teddy as he was the one returning home to his family. In fact, the attention is focused on Ruth. Max’s first reaction to her is abusive and he immediately calls Ruth a tart: ‘We’ve had a stinking pox-ridden slut in my house all night.’ This shows us how Max views women as he has never even set eyes on Ruth before this meeting. His words do not shock anyone and appear to be perfectly acceptable and normal. Even Teddy does not see
Teddy, sensing Ruth"tms mood, suddenly starts to talk about returning to America which is a change of attitude for him. "tmIn essence, "The Homecoming"tm is that of Ruth"tms. Ruth also does not try to defend herself or get upset. The final departure of Teddy has an air of finality. m to surprised about this and although he does protest he is not particularly forceful. It later becomes clear that Lenny is a pimp and owns flats in which to conduct his business, Sam is a chauffeur and it is easy to believe that the people he drives around are clients of Lenny"tms girls. She also introduces a sexual aspect into the conversation: "LENNY. Teddy avoids them and refuses to be drawn in. When Teddy leaves it is an emotional farewell to watch but with little emotion expressed. When Ruth starts to speak the men seem to be transfixed by her. Due to references to other women in the play this appears to be how he thinks. The family are not overjoyed to see Teddy. Pinter is trying in "The Homecoming"tm to show family conflicts and attitudes and how things can change.