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American Dream | Study Guide

Edward Albee

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American Dream | Infographic

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Edward Albee's American Dream. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

american-dream-edward-albeeEmptinessWhen Grandma empties the apartment of its contents, she is showing how a materialistic American dream can be empty.CrueltyMommy mistreats Grandma, emasculates Daddy, and behaves brutally toward their adopted son. ValuesMommy and Daddys blandness and shallowness are representative of the materialistic American dream. Main CharactersMommyVicious, domineering, dull woman DaddyMommys considerate but passive husbandGrandmaThe authors somewhat likable mouthpieceMrs. BarkerVisitor and volunteer with the adoption serviceYoung ManHandsome, emotionless twin of Mommy and Daddys adopted sonGrandmaRepresents blunt honesty and an ounce of humanism in the face of absurdity and declining American values BoxesSymbolize the elimination of everything of worth and the hollowness of what is leftThe American DreamRepresents a wished-for, but empty, life of comfort—an illusion thats ultimately absurdMotifsThe American Dreamby the NumbersOther one-act play (The Sandbox) often produced with The American Dream 1Year Albee produced his first play, The Zoo Story 1959Year Albee won a Tony Award for lifetime achievement 2005Year of Albees final Off-Broadway premiere: Me, Myself & I 2010ou got to have a sense of dignity...if you don’t have that, civilizations doomed. GrandmaEDWARD ALBEE1928–2016AuthorLike most writers, Albee pulled from personal experiences in his work. Asked how long it took him to write a play, he answered, all of my life.” In The American Dream, Albee built on his rocky relationship with his adoptive mother and his disaffection with American values.The American Dream takes a dark and satirical look at the middle-class culture of the 1950s with its portrayal of bored family drama. Mommy and Daddys dialogue is shallow, repetitive, and dissociated, while Grandmas words reflect slightly better values—and callousness. To them, life is absurd and meaningless; theres not much to dream about.American Dream? Ha!THEMESSources: Cherry Lane Theatre, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Goshen College, Introduction in Three Tall Women by Edward Albee, Merriam-Websters Encyclopedia of Literature, New York Times, Copyright © 2016 Course Hero, Inc.Edward Albee1961 EnglishPlayAuthorFirst PerformedOriginal LanguageThe American DreamComedy

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