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Looking At American Society From The Plays

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Autor:   •  January 5, 2011  •  1,183 Words (5 Pages)  •  741 Views

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The statement “embedded in every major play written by an American playwright is a

Critique of American society” is valid for both American Buffalo and Burried Child. While in American Buffalo, effects of materialism and capitalism are clearly seen, Burried Child differently is a metaphorical one containing Americans’ sins they buried, like Vietnam War , slavery, genocide of Native Americans, atom bomb.But when we search the reasons of these sins, we come across the same thing, capitalism.

In American Buffalo, Mamet is approaching to the immoralities of the American society which are caused by business, capitalism and materialism. He chooses the business as the main theme of the play to show his criticism. Business in America is still controlled by “American Dream.” Because of this, characters in the play are depicted in the way that they are affected badly by the concept of “strive and succeed” and they are victims of capitalist and materialistic world of America. The goal of the characters in the play, (Bob, Teach and Don) is to get rich and to be dominant. They do not care how they reach that goal, they only want it. From the aspect of Don, what is necessary for success in the business is common sense, experience and talent. There is no place for ethics in the corrupt world of business. This is quite clear in the play as the characters are planning to steal the buffalo headed-nickel from a man to whom Don sold it. Also the world of business in American Buffalo is very tough. This toughness is supported by curses and hard expressions. Teach is a good proof as a character. He says: “ I am a business man, I am here, I am here to do business, I am here to face facts. Besides this, as I stated above, they are ready to do everything to reach their goals even through violence like Teach’s beating of Bob and Teach’s words like : “ They treated me like an asshole, they are an asshhole... The only way to teach them is to kill them.”(11) And he says: “ Guys like that I like to fuck their wives.”(28). In addition to this, many honorable things do not have place in this kind of world. Even friendship seems to be excluded from this world. In this concept, Teach thinks that friendship is a nice thing but business is still business. Accordingly, Teach tries to destroy the friendship between Don and Bob who are like father and son image in the play. He wants to break this relationship because of his jealousy and his profit from the business they are planning. If he can not end the friendship, he can not join the robbery and he can not get his profit. As a support for the idea mentioned above, the characters in the play regard the business in America as a free enterprise. Everyboy has right to make a living and fortune by using any possible thing ( like the robbery plan of them ) Teach thinks that America is founded on this idea: “ To Embark on Any Fucking Course that he sees fit... In order to secure his chance to make a profit... The country’s founded on this, Don. You know this.”(73) This reminds us the words of President Calvin Coolidge “ The business of America is business.” So, the world of business in America is like a forest. There is only one law in this rampand capitalism. It is the survival of the fittest. Teach’s following words are a good evidence of this: “ The Whole Entire World. There Is no law. There Is No Right And Wrong. The World Is Lies. There Is No Friendship. Every Fucking Thing. Every God-forsaken Thing.”(103)

Burried Child can be considered as a family play which tells us the corrupt of the family. But the family in the play is not a typical American family, it is an extreme one so, it is wrong to say that it represents the American society. Indeed, it is metaphorical play as I stated before. Buried child is the symbol of innocence, the metaphor of the sins Americans committed


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