A Zoo Story: Analysis of Jerry's Character

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Jerry, in Edward Albee’s play The Zoo Story, proves himself to be a very complex character. In the play, he does not explicitly reveal information about his past but, he does provide evidence for the kind of person he is which leads us to achieve a vague image of his past experiences (what made him the person he is). Jerry accents the relationships that he has with the people around him, such as his landlord, the landlord’s dog, and what he knows about his neighbors. The way that he expresses his emotions towards these specific people leads the reader to make certain guesses about Jerry’s past and why he is the person that he has come to be. The character that Jerry talks about and explains the most is his landlord’s dog. He begins by explaining his instant relationship with the dog, one of pure defense: the dog would automatically attack Jerry when he entered the building but never when he would leave. Jerry, not explaining why he wanted the dog to be on good terms with him, tries to kill him with kindness by buying him hamburger meat. Jerry’s persistence in trying to win the dog over shows how Jerry is looking for a relationship or friendship with the dog. This may lead the reader to think that Jerry is looking for any relationship as he does not seem to have very many. Jerry, noticing that the hamburger meat he bought did not change anything, tries to poison the dog with rat poison (which he claimed to have thought he had put a murderous portion of) but does not succeed. When Jerry hears how the dog is sick, he regrets his attempt and claims he truthfully wants the dog to survive so that he can see what their new relationship would be like. This shows Jerry’s reaction to a failed relationship: he either wants the dog to die or he wants to continue trying t form a bond. After explaining the story about the dog to Peter, Jerry goes on a rant about how “…if you can’t deal with people, you have to make a start somewhere. WITH ANIMALS!” This shows...
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