Thursday, April 5, 2012

Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story" and Luigi Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author" explore the concept of loneliness, and the drastic measures characters take to fulfill their emptiness. In the Zoo Story, Jerry and Peter have very different identities and life styles. Peter is a publishing executive with a wife, two children, and two parakeets, while Jerry is an isolated, poor, and disheartened man. He has no people close to him which is shown through his empty picture frames he has at his house. The two characters come to the park for very different reasons: Peter sees Central Park as a haven away from his family and work where he can read peacefully alone, while Jerry goes to the park to have a random conversation with a stranger, and ultimately to kill himself. There was no climactic story about the Zoo that Jerry used to keep Peter listening to his other ridiculous stories. The bottom line was, Jerry came to the park with the intention of killing himself. After he has impaled himself on the knife, Jerry says "could I have planned all this?, I couldn't have. But I think I did." Just as in 'night Mother with Julie, loneliness leads to suicide.

In Pirandello's drama, the son and father both have lead isolated lives that lead them to take drastic measures. The Father forced the Mother to leave the house with his former clerk, and an isolated life followed for him and his son. This excerpt sums his life up pretty well, "I was like a dazed fly alone in the empty rooms. This boy here was educated away from home, and when he came back, he seemed to me to be no more mine. With no mother to stand between him and me, he grew up entirely for himself, on his own, apart, with no tie of intellect or affection binding him to me." This isolation drove the Father into immoral actions. He stalked his step-daughter, and bought her gifts and flowers. Then, he visited Madame Pace's whore house and had sex with his step-daughter. His lonely life and the fact that "no woman could any longer give him love" forced him into these unduly actions.

The son is another sad story of isolation. When asked about his position on the family matters after the Father and Step-Daughter have been ranting, the son asserts, " I've got nothing to do with it, and don't want to have; because you know well enough I wasn't made to be mixed up in all this with the rest of you". By the mother leaving, and the father showing no interest in his son throughout their relationship, the son has experienced a detached life. He desires to remain disconnected from his family as well. He has a cynical demeanor and outlook on life, yet is probably the most rational thinker out of the family.

All of this talk about loneliness and isolation reminds me of my next door neighbor Gary. He came over to my house today and knocked on the door for basically no reason. He has suffered 3 brain aneurisms and thus does not have a quick mind. His house has tons of pictures of him and his wife in places all across the world, and he looks so much different, younger, and happier. I know he enjoys talking with me as his life is very dull and alone, with the occasional visit from his wife. I smoked a cigarette with him, showed him around my house and sat outside and chatted for a while. When I left to go back to my house, he thanked me a couple times for hanging out with him. Although this would probably never happen, I wonder if he would ever do something like Jerry did where I was there for his last moments in life before committing suicide. I wonder if he wants to end his life. When I went back to my house, he said he was "going to lay in bed and do nothing". Because of his brain aneurisms, he can't drive anymore (always talks about how much he misses his cars-cadillacs in particular), hold a job, or do a lot of basic functions of life. He may be driven to just ending this monotonous, boring, lonely life he lives. You just never know what goes on in isolated peoples' minds because they are by themselves so much. Your small interaction or conversation with them could be tremendously meaningful to them, and they could dwell on it for a long time.