American Dream

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title The American Dream

author Edward Albee

type of work Drama

genre Comedy; the Theater of the Absurd

language English

time and place written Written in New York, 1959–1960

date of first publication 1960; first production, January twenty-four, 1961, at the York Playhouse, New York City

publisher The New American Library, Inc.

narrator None, though Grandma steps out of the action at the close of the play

climax The American Dream does not adhere to the Aristotelian model of plot and thus does not involve a structure of rising and falling action, climax, and catharsis.

protagonists Grandma (though in a loose sense)

antagonist Mommy

setting (time) Unspecified—the present?

setting (place) The living room of Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma's apartment

point of view Point of view is not located as there is no narrator figure

falling action Again, The American Dream does not adhere to the Aristotelian model of plot.

tense The play unfolds in the time of the present

foreshadowing Indications of Grandma's imminent departure in particular occur throughout the play

tone Comic

themes The American Dream, language and violence, emasculation

motifs Old people and Grandma's epigrams, the boxes, defense, disfiguration and deformity

symbols The American Dream does not particularly make use of symbols