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How I Learned to Drive a dramatic comedy by Paula Vogel is a play that is as funny as it is disturbing Set in suburban Maryland it deals with a young girl nicknamed Lil Bit and her sexual relationship with her uncle nicknamed Peck The story is told though a series of flashbacks from Lil Bit as she sees things at thirty-five years old The first time her uncle sexually molested Lil Bit he was teaching her to drive a car so from then on her relationship with him is seen through driving lessons Coming of age is in one way marked by learning to drive and in the play Vogel explores the fragile innocence of that time in a girls life In How I Learned to Drive Vogel unravels what happens when gender roles are over sexualized in a family setting namely that everything begins to be viewed through the lens of sex In Lil Bits family everyone has a nickname These nicknames are interesting because they all have to do with a highly sexualized body part Her grandfather is called Big Poppa her uncle called Peck and Lil Bit was named for the small size of her vagina at birth Even when saying ones name it immediately brings up sexual connotations It also puts restraints on each person because since they are each defined by a sexualized body part gender roles are inseparable It also portrays a loss of ownership of one of the most private parts of ones body especially in the case of a young person like Lil Bit At the age of eleven Lil Bit is just beginning to become familiarized with sexuality and having her family refer to her by the size of her vagina makes it seem like its common property Uncle Pecks molestation of her while he is first teaching her to drive could have only been encouraged by these factors Learning to drive
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