Study Guide

The Zoo Story Writing Style

By Edward Albee

Writing Style

Limping and Staggering

The Zoo Story is not a smooth reading (or watching) experience. There are lots and lots of pauses; Peter's first lines are "Hm?...What?...I'm sorry, were you talking to me?" (2). A lot of the play limps along like that, with stutters and spaces and gaps.

The writing style is also staggering in that some parts are short, back-and-forth dialogues… but then there are other bits that are big monologue blocks of text. When Jerry talks about the dog, for example, he goes on and on and on—with lots of ellipses of course:

I think…I think we stayed a long time that way…still, stone-statue… (162)

And when he's done, it's back to the staggering ping-pong: Jerry says, Peter says, and then back again to Jerry talking at length. The style and pacing is broken up and uncomfortable, like the play itself. In fact, if the play were a bench, it would have big holes and splinters sticking up, and would definitely prod Peter in the butt. And he'd surely say, "Hm?...What?..."