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The World of Business in Mamet's "American Buffalo"

Uploaded by pharaoh_86 on Feb 12, 2006

In his 'American Buffalo,' Mamet is quite critical to the immoralities of the American society, especially those which are caused by business deviation. Such is obviously reflected in the themes, where the theme of business is the central theme of the play. Business in America is still controlled by the myth of the 'American Dream.' Thus, the American citizen is shown to be badly affected by the concept of 'strive and succeed,' and a victim of the capitalist materialistic world of business in America, which is mainly built on exploitation and opportunism.

The characters of the play, Don, Teach and Bob, aim at success which merely means to them to become wealthy and dominant. Such is revealed in a conversation between Don and Bob, where Don is talking about Fletcher, who is a successful business man from his point of view:
"You take him and you put him down in some strange town with just a nickel in his pocket, and by night fall he'll have that town by the balls. This is not talk, Bob, this is action."

The qualifications of success in business are thought by Don to be just common sense, experience and talent:
"That's all business is… common sense, experience and talent."
Ethics, indeed, have no value in the corrupt world of business. This is quite manifest in 'American Buffalo,' where the characters plan for a robbery of a man, who has recently bought a buffalo-headed nickel from Don. At first, Don asks Bob to watch the man, and he blames Bob for not watching him well. Afterwards, Bob lies to Don telling him that he has seen the man; they both agree to break into his house, thinking that the man has a big collection of coins there. However, Teach intervenes and convinces Don to carry out the robbery in stead of Bob, whom he thinks is inexperienced enough to do the job efficiently. The theft does not work out. Both Don and Teach suspect that Bob has carried out the theft behind their backs. At last, they discover that Bob has been lying to them all along.

The world of business, in 'American Buffalo,' is characterized by toughness. Obscene words and expressions, which are verbalized by the characters, are good evidence of that. Teach, as a character, is also a good proof of that; he says: "I am a business man, I am here to do business, I...

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Uploaded by:   pharaoh_86

Date:   02/12/2006

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (699 words)

Views:   1626

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