Keeping Up With the American Family; Analyzing the Superficial Pursuit of the American Dream in Edward Albee’s Work College
Our founding fathers were committed to creating a perfect society, free from the “corruption and oppression of the west they left behind” (Holtan). As America aged, this idea of American perfection developed into an image, The American Dream. By the 1950s the “perfect” American family needed a happy wife, a good looking man with a bright career, and most importantly 2.5 children. American’s felt pressure to rise to the image of perfection depicted in shows like “Leave it to Beaver”. The phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” was used to describe American’s that bought unnecessary material items such as fancy cars, houses and clothing to appear richer and higher class than they really were. In this trend people were afraid of being below the status quo. In trying to measure up to their neighbors, they often just brought about more unhappiness. Their lives felt more meaningless and hollow when wrapped in a thin vail of success. While the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” is usually used to describe consumerism, the same principle is demonstrated in Edward Albee’s play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. In the play, George and Martha, are an unhappily married couple who have invited two supposedly happy young newly weds, Nick and...
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