American Dream

by: Edward Albee

The Young Man

A blond, Midwestern beauty, the Young Man describes himself as a "type"; upon their introduction, Grandma dubs him the "American Dream". He is the product of the murder of his lost identical twin who stands against him in his physical deformity—as Grandma notes, the party knows him as the "bumble". Appearing toward the end of the play as the solution to Mommy and Daddy's dilemma, he introduces a hiatus into the household's violent intercourse with the story of his losses. This story recounts his progressive loss of feeling and desire, losses that, unbeknownst to him, correspond to the mutilations Mommy inflicted on his brother to punish his bodily excesses. These losses have left the Young Man a shell, physically perfect but a void within. Ironically, he ultimately becomes the child that Mommy believes will provide her with satisfaction, replacing the murdered bumble.

One possible reading of this admittedly strange allegory of the American Dream might focus on the notion of the mask. In some sense, the two twins stand in for the man and his mask: the perfect form of the American Dream requires the murder of the unruly body, the human bumble.


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