The Role of Women in The Zoo Story Essay

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The Role of Women in The Zoo Story   Although the women characters in "The Zoo Story" are never front and center staged, they have leading roles in shaping the conditions and sensibilities of Jerry and Peter. The women referred to by each of the male characters affects, or has affected, their perceptions and routines in life. Jerry has had many encounters with various women, while Peter speaks only of three. The quantity of women roles in each man's life is not the dominate cause of their behaviors; it is the quality of the women. In "The Zoo Story" the women "backstage" are unseen influences that cloud reality for Jerry and Peter.   The few women in Peter's life keep him relatively tamed. He is the male…show more content…
At his bench the women no longer have hold of his leash. Peter wanders into unknown territory in a conversation with Jerry. He is unfamiliar with the rough living conditions Jerry experiences. Peter's mild manner gradually becomes less tame with the encouragement of Jerry's wild and provocative manner He develops survival characteristics of an animal, defensive outbursts for his life and territory (the bench).   Jerry's confrontations with women are very short-termed, from the abandonment of his mother as a child to the one-time hourly visit from one of several whores. He remains a lone stray, isolated in life with resentment toward commitment and women. "You're married!" exclaims Jerry in disbelief, as if it is an uncommon ceremony. Marriage would be unheard of for Jerry considering the relationships he has had with women. In sarcastic, good humor Jerry reveals the source of his impersonal relationships. . . "good old Mom walked out on good old Pop when I was ten and a half years old; she embarked on an adulterous turn of our southern states. . ." The abandonment of his own mother was probably the hardest thing for Jerry to experience as a child. The woman who was supposed to love him most turned her back on him. In a way, Jerry recovered from that experience by keeping himself staying isolated, both personally and mentally from
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