American Dream

by: Edward Albee

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