Edward Albee; Adoped Talent

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Adopted Talent:
The Edward Albee Story

Submitted by
C. Clennan

Passionate. Driven. Persistent. Clever. Leader. Resentful. Shaped by life experiences. These are some words and phrases that could be used to describe the famous playwright, Edward Albee. Through living his life, and examining everything about it, Albee has learned how to understand how he really feels about issues that effect both himself and the people that he shares the world with. Albee enjoys writing by the philosophy that a playwright should always strive to, initially entertain an audience but, they also need to have their own opinion on social living, and they should give their critic on social structure through their work (Moritz 1).

As we examine Albee’s plays, and the central themes that they express, we see the close connections that the works have thematically. We notice the constant criticism that Albee displays, through his work, on the values of American living. This shows that he obviously strives to have a political voice and he wants to get that voice out there. He has strong feelings about the “American values” and he continuously mocks them in his work. Not exactly to the point of anarchy, but it’s plain to see that he feels strongly about the false persona that the “American dream” describes (Evory 19).

One thing that Edward Albee has grown a strong opinion of is his viewpoints on nonconformity. He believes that we live in a time where everyone believes that everyone is a conformist; that everyone has the exact same ideas and opinions as the next guy. “Conformity has become a dirty word” (Albee 15), Albee stated in an essay on nonconformity. His personal opinion is conformity and nonconformity are inexistent; they are simply more groups for people to place other people in. Albee constantly brings up the point that people are alienated; therefore they have their own ideas their own thoughts, their on opinions, and so forth. People aren’t nonconformist by conforming to a group of people who cry conformity upon others, people are born their own person, Albee intends to embrace that belief (Albee 16-16).

There are many events that have occurred in his life that have contributed to building Edward Albee as an observant playwright. For a man that is this observant and “prides himself on his visual memory” (Gussow 21), it is hard to not let important events leave a stain in him memory, and to effect his work. Edward Albee has been shaped by the abandonment of his mother to his adoptive parents, his observations of human alienation, and his lack of belief in the true American Dream.

With the news of Louise Harvey’s, Albee’s birth mother, pregnancy Albee’s birth father quickly left his wife, and their unborn child. He never paid any contributions to the two, and was never heard of again. Harvey gave birth to an Edward Harvey On March 12th, 1928. She alone, was unable to keep the child and maintain his everyday needs. She decided that it wasn’t best for her to keep the child and, fourteen day after his birth, surrendered Edward Harvey for adoption. It only took four days for the Harvey child to be placed in the home Reed A. Albee and Frances C. Albee (Gussow 21-22). Then on February 1st, 1929 Edward Harvey was officially adopted by the Albees. Albee’s adoption will become one of the three most important events in his life that both shape his as a human being, and as a sophisticated playwright. Edward Harvey was then renamed Edward Franklin Albee III. This name spawned from the name of Reed Albee’s father, who co-owned a chain of vaudeville styled theatre’s know as the Keith-Albee theatrical chain. Albee states that the reason for his adoption being “his grandfather wanted a grandson, a male heir“ (Gussow 22). The Albee’s lived in Larchmont, New York. Albee was growing up in this town in the 1930s and early 1940s and, at this time, this town was an “exclusive suburban community“ (Gussow 30). It was a wealthy town, with wealthy...
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