What do I need to know about ... Eddie's Arm Chair?


Brief Description

As shown in many sections of the play, Eddie often sits in his armchair and it seems to the audience that he uses this piece of furniture as his 'getaway'; a place where he can find a sense of security. In addition, now that there are others living in 'his' house, the one and only personal and private object he has left is his armchair, therefore explaining the reason why he frequently goes back to it whenever he feels the need for security and refuge. Some may also relate this armchair to a throne. It symbolises Eddie's authority within the household and being the man of the house. This creates an image of a hierarchy within this household, having Eddie sitting at the top, being in charge and holding the power.

Key Quotations

"She is walking him to the armchair...'I'll get you a beer, all right?...Guess how much we paid for the skirt?'" - Pg.13
At this point, the text suggests that Catherine understands that the armchair is Eddie's comfort zone and before starting a conversation regarding anything major - in this case her job - she offers to get him a beer and sits him down in his chair. It is made obvious to the reader that by asking Eddie to guess how much she paid for the skirt, she is trying to start a conversation regarding her job. Although this question leads to other topics such as Eddie's opinion on her appearance and Beatrice's cousins, when Beatrice asks Catherine to 'set the table' but before she goes ahead with this order she says "We didn't tell him about me yet" - referring to her job.

"She sits on her heels beside him," - Pg.14
This emphasizes Eddie's authority and the presence of a hierarchy. The fact that Eddie is sitting on his armchair while Catherine is kneeling on the floor beside him suggests that she is at a lower status than he is and looks up to him.

Tthe presence of a hierarchy and Eddie's desire to control Catherine's life is emphasised when he says, "Catherine, I don't want to be a pest, but I'm tellin' you you're walkin' wavy." While sitting in his armchair, he is telling Catherine his opinion on how she should do things and what he is dissatisfied with.

"Holding back a voice full of anger...'You understand me don't you Marco?' He goes to his rocker." Pg.54
Once again as Eddie's own anger begins to rise, he moves over to his rocker, suggesting to the audience that he is once again trying to calm himself in his armchair, reflecting on his words and thoughts after a tense conversation with Marco.

"[Rodolpho and Catherine] dance. Eddie in thought sits in his chair..." - Pg.57
This quotation reinforces the fact that Eddie's armchair is a place where he reflects on his own thoughts and actions whenever in doubt. Feeling obviously uneasy as he watches Catherine and Rodolpho dance, he goes back to his chair, a place of security and comfort.

"...pulling Eddie down into the rocker 'That's enough, Eddie..." Pg.57
After Eddie teaches Rodolpho how to box and Beatrice realises that tension is building up, she takes sits Eddie back down in his armchair once again and changes the topic immediately as an attempt to calm him down before anything goes terribly wrong. In addition, the fact that Eddie returns to his armchair after a fight that proved his strength over Rodolpho's, he also proves that the throne does belong to him, therefore establishing that he is the man of the house and the authority does lie with him.

Marco also lifts Eddie's chair over his head in a threatening gesture - his ability to so easily pick up Eddie's 'throne' a feat which Eddie himself is incapable of - is an indiciation that Marco is challenging Eddie's dominance in the house.