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Where is My Home?: A Question about the Absurd Reality and the Existential Journey of Self-discovery in The Zoo Story

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2022, 35(2), pp.87-110
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : July 25, 2022
  • Accepted : August 14, 2022
  • Published : August 31, 2022

Jungman Park 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Edward Albee’s play The Zoo Story (1958) tells the problems of human alienation and loneliness in modern society. These problems are aspects of the disparity between the reason for being and the reality of being that absurd playwrights have been exploring. In this respect, the play shares the absurdist and pessimistic perception of human condition represented by the ‘No Exit’ situation. On the other hand, The Zoo Story differentiates itself from the absurd drama. By dramatizing the human action to escape the no way out situation, the play consciously attempts the possibility of change. This study pays attention to the fact that the absurd human condition is represented as the ‘home’ motif in the play, and accordingly interprets the dramatic action of Jerry, the protagonist of the play, as existential self-discovery which is reduced to the journey of ‘finding home’. Jerry makes a desperate struggle to get his accidental friend Peter to find his home, through which Jerry also ends his journey to find his own home. It conveys the insight that finding home is not a journey alone, and that finding my home is intertwined with finding my friend’s home. In the play, Albee never gives up on an affirmative vision of human experience.

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