From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
The breaking string sounds just before the homeless man enters in Act 2, and just after Fiers lies down at the end of the play. Different productions have handled it different ways. It could be the melancholy, nostalgic sound of a breaking guitar string. It could symbolize the discontinuation of memory. Overtly political productions have featured the sound of a snapping whip, a reminder of the family's dependence on slavery.