Study Guide

Driving Miss Daisy Florine (Patti Lupone)

Florine (Patti Lupone)

Boolie's wife Florine Werthan is a social climber—and how.

We don't see much of her; what we learn about her mostly comes from Daisy's observations. Even though Florine's Jewish, she tries hard to assimilate into Christian southern culture. She even celebrates Christmas, much to the chagrin of her mother-in-law. Most of her friends are Christian.

BOOLIE: Goin' to the Andersons for a dinner party.

DAISY: This is her idea of heaven on earth, isn't it?

BOOLIE: What?

DAISY: Socializin' with Episcopalians.

Daisy knows this is hopeless—Florine's Christian friends won't ever really accept her no matter how many civic clubs she joins.

DAISY: If I had a nose like Florine, I wouldn't say "Merry Christmas" to anybody. […] The Garden Club this, the Junior League that. As if they'd give her the time of day. She'd die before she fixed a glass of iced tea for the Temple sisterhood.

Florine's pretty excitable, and tends to pop off at her servants; Boolie steps in to calm her down and we get the impression that this isn't the first time:

FLORINE: Do you have any idea what it takes to give a Christmas reception? It takes an eye for detail. I told you a million times, Katie Bell, write it down! More I cannot do! (To Boolie) We're out of coconut.

BOOLIE: I'm sure we can manage.

FLORINE: I told her.

KATIE BELL: But you didn't write it down!

FLORINE: I don't need to stand and listen to excuses on Christmas. You figure out how to serve ambrosia to 50 people without coconut. I give up!

BOOLIE: Don't worry, Katie Bell. It's not quite the end of the world.

Driving Miss Daisy playwright and screenwriter Alfred Uhry described Florine as embodying his own experience of growing up Jewish in the south, where "being Jewish was some sort of defect you had to overcome […]. So I grew up with a chip on my shoulder, wishing that I could have, as I said in another one of my plays, 'kissed my elbow and turned into an Episcopalian'" (source).

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