Study Guide

The Zoo Story Society and Class

By Edward Albee

Society and Class

Peter is comfortably upper-middle class; in today's dollars, he makes well over $100,000 a year at his swanky publishing job. Jerry, on the other hand, is poor; he doesn't have any visible source of income, his family is dead, he lives in a low-rent boarding house. And of course, Peter has the valuable property that is the bench. Peter's got everything; Jerry has zilch—which is why he tries to take the bench. It works out poorly for him, which is more or less true to the rest of his life. Rich people have everything, including power and all the benches, so when rich and poor tussle, it doesn't usually turn out well for the poor.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. If Jerry were upper-middle class like Peter, how would the play change? Would the play work?
  2. Does Jerry have sympathy for other people who are poor? Explain your answer.
  3. Does Peter envy Jerry's poverty? Explain your answer.

Chew on This

The Zoo Story hates the rich.

The Zoo Story hates the poor.