You Can't Take It with You Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. About what is "You Can't Take It With You?"

"You Can't Take It With You" is a romantic comedy about Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby, two young people trapped between the eccentricities and foibles of their families in New York City in 1936.

2. How does the play open? What does the audience member and reader learn about the family from the set?

The play opens in the cluttered and chaotic living room of Grandpa Vanderhof. It is obvious that this room serves more than one purpose with its eclectic elements, including live snakes, a xylophone, and a printing press. The family seems to be very eccentric and unique based on what is seen in this room.

3. How are the characters introduced? Why might the playwright use this technique to present the personalities and quirkiness of these characters to the audience or reader?

The characters are introduced as they come in and out of this room, beginning with Penny Sycamore, Grandpa Vanderhof's fifty-year-old daughter who is typing away at one of the many plays she is writing. The author may have used this technique, so that the audience or reader could quickly meet the characters, see how they interact, and understand the basic dynamics of this family.

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