The Zoo Story Questions and Answers
by Edward Albee

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Discuss the theme of The Zoo Story by Edward Albee.

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Albee's The Zoo Story examines how isolated modern man is in the way he lives and the role capitalism plays in this isolation. If we compare Peter and Jerry, we can see that each man is isolated, though Jerry is far more aware of this fact than Peter.

Peter is the quintessential family man: he is solidly middle-class and his life is going "according to plan." Peter does not realize that the trappings of his middle class life are a literal trap: he is caged by the comfortable theories and material items with which he surrounds himself. In order to not face his aloneness, Peter surrounds himself with things and ideas that prevent him from facing his true condition: an abyss of isolation and disconnection.

We can interpret the bench as symbolic of all that Peter has (and, thus, all that he fears losing). If he "loses" the bench, he loses his entire stable sense of himself and the world. Losing it to someone like Jerry is particularly troubling to Peter because, in Peter's view, Peter has done...

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