The Zoo Story

The Zoo Story Character List


A publishing executive and family man in his early forties, Peter is reading in Central Park at the top of the play, when he is interrupted by Jerry. Their conversation, which eventually escalates into violence, is the centerpiece of The Zoo Story. Peter embodies convention and propriety, and seems to have achieved the American Dream.


An eccentric transient in his late thirties, Jerry lives in poverty on the Upper West Side and is profoundly lonely. This loneliness drives him to seek companionship from strangers; that companionship is ostensibly what he seeks from Peter. Jerry is contemplative and critical of society, and he is eager to share his opinions about life, love, and isolation with Peter.