The Zoo Story by Edward Albee Essay

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee Essay

Length: 2305 words (6.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In The Zoo Story, Edward Albee shows an encounter between two very different men, Peter and Jerry, sitting at a bench in Central Park. The play depicts people living like animals in cages, isolated from each other, and refusing to communicate. The play presents characters who suffer from lack of real human relationships, the sense of loneliness from being alienated and isolated from other members of their own society. This suffering leads mainly to agonizing life experiences and finally to the death of Jerry, who greatly suffers from alienation. In the play, Jerry tries to break this kind of alienation and make contact with another human being and who finally binds himself to that other in death. Through Jerry Albee presents the problem of alienation that marks the modern life of the mid-twentieth century. It shows how alienation from oneself, from other people, and from the society, in which one lives, is interrelated. In The Zoo Story, Albee makes it obvious that Jerry’s sense of alienation springs from multiple personal and social reasons, in which society as a whole imposes this sense of alienation upon its members.
To start with Jerry’s personal life, in telling his family’s history to Peter, Jerry lives in total isolation from his family in his early life, which adds up to his feeling of alienation. Jerry says that his mother abandoned them to lead the path of adulterous “Besides, or, rather, to be pointed about it, good old Mom walked out on good old Pop when I was ten and a half years old; she embarked on an adulterous turn of our southern states” (Albee 28). His mother’s separation from his father and her later death between Christmas and the New Year not only leaves great gap in Jerry’s early life, but also creates the i...


... middle of paper ...


...d by Peter.
In the play, Jerry tries to achieve communication in the isolated and alienated society where he lives. He achieves that goal only by ending his life in the sake of making contact. In his death, Jerry provokes Peter into a livelier awareness of “others”. Jerry attempts to shake Peter and brings him back from death and by making him “alive”. That what Albee is trying to reflect in the play where he argues that “All serious art, not just plays, is an attempt to modify and change people’s perception of themselves, to bring them into larger contact with the fact of being alive” (Fuente.1980 interview with Albee). After Jerry’s death, Peter is much shaken. The audience is shaken too, as they are represented by Peter in the play. Jerry is one person to act out, to face his loneliness and alienation, and to break the conceptual silence of the American society.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee Essay

- The Zoo Story by Edward Albee In Edward Albee's play, The Zoo Story, Jerry tells Peter bizarre stories about people he has encountered that influence his shallow and lonely existence, to demonstrate Albee's view that society is unnecessarily consumed by indifference, unkindness, weakness, and emptiness. In an attempt to cause Peter to realize that his own life is filled with emptiness and shallowness, Jerry tells Peter about the lives of some of the people in his boarding house. He talks about the colored queen, the Puerto Rican family, the landlady, and the woman who cries all the time, in hopes of causing Peter to compare the meaninglessness of his life to their lives....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about The Zoo Story a by Edward Albee

- GCSE Drama Coursework - The script I chose to perform was entitled The Zoo Story and was written by Edward Albee. GCSE Drama Coursework The script I chose to perform was entitled The Zoo Story and was written by Edward Albee. I made a few alterations to the script to make it more interesting and easier to perform. I shortened the script to make it easier to learn in a short space of time, and cut out some pieces of the text. I also turned Jerry, into a female character, so that I could associate more with whom I was playing....   [tags: Drama]

Powerful Essays
1637 words (4.7 pages)

The Zoo Story by Edward Albee Essay

- In a crowded city such as Manhattan, it was no wonder that a man like Jerry felt lonely. He was without a friend, a mother and father, and the typical 'wife, two children, and a dog,'; that many others had. Jerry was thrown in a world that he felt did not want him, and his human flaw of wanting to escape loneliness led to his tragic death. In Edward Albee's play, The Zoo Story, all Jerry wanted was to be heard and understood, and in the end, after sharing his life story with a complete stranger, he got his final wish - death....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
766 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on The Zoo Story

- Edward Albee once said, "Every honest work is a personal or private yowl, a statement of one's individual pleasure or pain". The Zoo Story shows the attempt of the character Jerry to make a statement about himself, his life, his pleasure, his pain. It is, in effect, his "yowl." Language is his means. Albee shows that language does indeed have the potential to "facilitate authentic communication" between Jerry and Peter (738). As the play begins, Jerry announces that "every once in awhile I like to talk to somebody, really talk; like to get to know somebody, know all about him." He is eager to identify with someone, anyone really....   [tags: The Zoo Story Essays]

Free Essays
560 words (1.6 pages)

Playwrights of the Twentieth Century: Edward Albee Essay

- Edward Albee is one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century, this is an opinion which creates major debates among literature lovers. Many people recognize his name as the writer of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf; but if the reader takes a minute to evaluate his canon of writing, there is a splendid volume of work available. Albee faced tremendous obstacles that were not always transparent to all. Edward was at odds with the environment and the expectations of his parents. As his plays were written, he often was at odds with the critics....   [tags: biographical analysis]

Powerful Essays
1582 words (4.5 pages)

Comparing Death of A Salesman and The Zoo Story Essay

- Death of A Salesman and The Zoo Story Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman , is considered a to be one of the great masterpieces of American Literature. Comparatively, Edward Albee's, The Zoo Story, is also an incredible work of art. Miller and Albee both depict a the struggles of man in relationships. Interestingly, both plays seem to parallel each other throughout both works of literature. The Death of a Salesman tells a story of a distressed father, named Willy who struggles with his tenous relationship with his son, Biff....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
696 words (2 pages)

Who's Afraid of Edward Albee? Essay

- Who's Afraid of Edward Albee.      Edward Albee was considered the chief playwright of the Theater of the Absurd when his first successful one-act experimental plays emerged.  The Zoo Story, The Death of Bessie Smith, The Sandbox, and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung were all released during Albee's thirties between 1959 and 1968 (Artists  1-2).  Edward Albee was born in the nation's capitol on March 12, 1928, and his career has brought him three Pulitzer Prizes over four decades, the first for A Delicate Balance in 1966 and the most recent in 1994 for Three Tall Women.  While Albee's original works established him as a leading voice in America's Theater of the Absurd, his more mature...   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Free Essays
1607 words (4.6 pages)

Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf by Edward Albee Essay

- ... At a given time ona character may be fully dominant and may torture the other character but shift of dominance is occurring frequently and relationship between the characters shift dramatically thoughout the drama. Albee expresses the characters sardonic and sadistic pleasure by causing the pain to each other. The play provides a vital insight into the American life. Albee resonates the decline of American dream with the Virginia woolf throught the play . He attacks the dreams and self-deceptions that forms American mythology.Albee puts a powerful question to his audience: who is afraid of life without any illusions....   [tags: controversial playwrights, voices]

Powerful Essays
1218 words (3.5 pages)

Biography of Edward Albee Essay

- Biography of Edward Albee Edward Albee burst onto the American theatrical scene in the late 1950s with a variety of plays that detailed the agonies and disillusionment of that decade and the transition from the calm Eisenhower to the turbulent 1960s. Albee became a serious dramatist dealing with serious but always relevant themes, primarily having to do with the predicament of humanity in a society with moral decay, as well as the conflict between reality and illusion. His work is considered to be unique, uncompromising, controversial, elliptical, and provocative....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
692 words (2 pages)

Edward Albee Essay

- Edward Albee was born in Washington, DC on March 12, 1928. When he was two weeks old, Albee was adopted by millionaire couple Reed and Frances Albee. The Albees named their son after his paternal grandfather, Edward Franklin Albee, a powerful producer who had made the family fortune as a partner in the Keith-Albee Theater Circuit. Young Edward was raised by his adoptive parents in Westchester, New York. Because of his father's and grandfather's involvement in the theatre business, Albee was exposed to theatre and well-known personalities throughout his childhood....   [tags: Biography]

Free Essays
1310 words (3.7 pages)