Study Guide

Fool for Love Love/Sex

By Sam Shepard


EDDIE: You know we're connected, May. We'll always be connected. That was decided a long time ago.

MAY: Nothing was decided! You made all that up. (191-192)

Eddie and May seem to disagree about the depth (and length) of their connection. In Eddie's view, they're always going to be thisclose, but May suggests here that Eddie is somehow delusional or lying about the nature of their connection. Perhaps she's just in intense denial, which seems to spread throughout the characters in this play like the common cold.

MAY: He's just a date, you know. Just an ordinary date.

EDDIE: Yeah? Well, I'm gonna turn him into a fig. (262-263)

In Eddie's absence, May apparently moved on with her life and started dating. Eddie isn't super thrilled about that development, since he thinks that May should have just been waiting around for him (even though he's been fooling around with someone else), so he's threatening violence against the new dude (and, even worse, throwing around bad puns).

"I came here to get you! Whatsa' matter with you! I came all this way to get you! Do you think I'd do that if I didn't love you! Huh? That b**** doesn't mean anything to me! Nuthin'. I got no reason to be here but you." (319)

Eddie is trying to convince May that his relationship with the Countess (whatever that was) didn't mean anything to him, and that May is his actual main squeeze. To prove his point, he uses less than nice language to describe his alterna-flame. May is not convinced.

"Okay. Look. I don't understand what you've got in your head anymore. I really don't. I don't get it. Now you desperately need me. Now you can't live without me. NOW you'll do anything for me. Why should I believe it this time?" (325)

May isn't buying into any of Eddie's song and dance about loving her and sticking around, since apparently she's heard it all before. She tries to get him to give one reason she should think this time is different from the others… but she doesn't seem to get one.

"It was supposed to have been true every time before. Every other time. Now it's true again. You've been jerking me off like this for fifteen years. Fifteen years I've been a yo-yo for you. I've never been split. I've never been two ways about you. I've either loved you or not loved you. And now I just plain don't love you. Understand? Do you understand that? I don't love you. I don't need you. I don't want you. Do you get that? Now if you can still stay, then you're either crazy or pathetic." (327)

Even though May is telling Eddie that she's not ambivalent about him, that's not really true—if she really doesn't love or need him, then why does she keep losing her mind every time he leaves the room? Seems a bit suspicious to us. However, perhaps her real point is that she wasn't unfaithful or split in her affections like he appeared to be—he was the one running around with the Countess and kind of dividing his heart, like their dad did with their mothers some years before. What a family tradition to maintain, right?

EDDIE: You miss the whole point, Martin. The reason you're taking her out to the movies isn't to see something she hasn't seen before.


EDDIE: The reason you're taking her out to the movies is because you just want to be with her. Right? You just wanna' be close to her. I mean you could take her just about anywhere. (413-415)

In one of the only moments in the play that is almost (but not quite) sweet, Eddie coaches Martin about his date with May. Instead of fretting about their actual activity, Eddie suggests Martin should be focused on just enjoying May's company. It's one of the very few moments in the play that doesn't make you want to take a mental bath.

MARTIN: Oh. So—you knew each other even before high school then, huh?

EDDIE: No, see, I never even knew I had a sister until it was too late.

MARTIN: How do you mean?

EDDIE: Well, by the time I found out we'd already—you know—fooled around. (471-474)

This is when we start getting into the nitty gritty of Eddie and May's forbidden love/lust. Apparently, they had already developed quite the hot and heavy relationship by the time their common (half) parentage came out. Ooops.

MARTIN: And you fooled around in high school together?

EDDIE: Yeah. Sure. Everybody fooled around in high school. Didn't you?

MARTIN: No. I never did.

EDDIE: Maybe you should have, Martin.

MARTIN: Well, not with my sister.

EDDIE: No, I wouldn't recommend that. (486-491)

Even though Eddie clearly is no model for how to conduct a teen romance in a safe and healthy way, he is still playing Mr. Macho for Martin, trying to look down his nose at the other man for not having fooled around in high school. Although he's generally got all the archness of overcooked pasta, even Martin knows to call shenanigans on that nonsense, suggesting that perhaps fooling around isn't all it's cracked up to be if one's siblings are involved.

"She just appears. She's standing there, staring at me and I'm staring back at her and we can't take our eyes off each other. It was like we knew each other from somewhere but we couldn't place here. But the second we saw each other, that very second, we knew we'd never stop being in love." (511)

Remember when we mentioned wanting to take a bath during most moments in the play? Well, this is definitely one of those moments. Here, Eddie is talking about that magical moment when he met his sister and realized he'd always be in love with her. It would be so tender and sweet… if they weren't related.

"She drew me to her. She went out of her way to draw me in. She was a force. I told her I'd never come across for her. I told her that right from the very start. But she opened up to me. She wouldn't listen. She kept opening up her heart to me. How could I turn her down when she loved me like that? How could I turn away from her? We were completely whole." (564)

This is the Old Man trying to justify the fact that he married (and thereby bamboozled) two women. Here, he's talking specifically about May's mother, who apparently (in his view) knew what she was getting herself into. In fact, he claims he had no choice but to be with her, since she loved him so much—it was the only humane thing to do. Yes, because nothing says reciprocal love like bigamy.