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American Dream

Edward Albee

Contents

Part two

page 1 of 2

Summary

Daddy reproaches Mommy for being such a deceitful girl. She protests that they were poor; now, having married Daddy, she is rich. Even Grandma feels rich, though she does not know Daddy wants her in a nursing home. Daddy protests that he would never send her away. Mommy would however: she cannot stand Grandma's constant housework. At the same time, one cannot simply live off of people.

She can, however, as she married Daddy and used to let him mount her and "bump [his] uglies"; she has earned the right to his money upon his death. Grandma enters with more boxes. When Daddy compliments her on the wrapping, she reproaches him anew for saying that she whimpered in the bathroom. Old people make all sorts of noises—whimpers, cries, belches, stomach rumblings, and so on. They wake up screaming in the middle of the night to discover they have not been sleeping and when asleep, they cannot wake for the longest time.

"Homilies!" Mommy cries. Grandma continues, calling Mommy a tramp, trollop, and trull. Even since she was a little girl, she schemed to marry a rich man: didn't she warn Daddy against marrying her? Mommy protests that Grandma is her mother, not Daddy's—Grandma has forgotten that detail. She complains that Mommy should have had Daddy set her up in the fur business or helped her become a singer. She has only kept her around to help protect herself whenever Daddy got fresh. But now Daddy would rather sleep with her than Mommy.

Daddy has been sick, however, and does not want anyone. "I just want to get everything over with" he sighs. Mommy agrees: why are they so late? "Who? Who?" hoots an owl-like Grandma. Mommy insists that Grandma knows who. She compliments the boxes again. Grandma replies that it hurt her fingers and frightened her to do it, but it had to be done. Mommy orders her to bed; Grandma responds that she wants to stay and watch.

The doorbell rings. Grandma asks who is it again: is it the "van people", finally come to take her away? Daddy assures her that it is not. The bell rings again, and Daddy wrings his hands in doubt—perhaps they should reconsider? Mommy insists that he made up his mind, that he was "masculine and decisive". At her prompting, he opens the door. "WHAT a masculine daddy! Isn't he a masculine Daddy?" Mommy explains. Grandma refuses to participate in the spectacle.

Mrs. Barker enters. Remarking on her lateness, Mommy reminds her that she was here once before. Grandma insists that she does not see "them". Barker assures her that they are here. Grandma does not remember her.

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