Fara's Reviews > American Buffalo

American Buffalo by David Mamet
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it was amazing
bookshelves: comedy, must-read-for-uni-class, the-is-more-to-this-than-meets-the, play, loved-it

** spoiler alert ** American Buffalo is a story of Friendship and Betrayal, parodic version of the American Dream and of course a social drama.

As Mamet himself puts it: "the play is about the American ethic of business... how we excuse all sorts of great and small betrayals and ethical compromises called business."

Don owns a junk shop, Bob is his gofer and Teach is his friend. The play's about an American Buffalo nickel which Don has sold and now he thinks he has been cheated and is professionally offended! Bob is assigned to watch the buyer's house and see if he leaves the house they would go and not only still back the Buffalo nickel, but also his stack of expensive coins. That's when Teach comes and convinces Don to cut Bob out of the job and let him do it.

Don caves in and decides to cut Bob out... here is when the Betrayal takes place! Don is supposed to teach Bob how to be a man and learn the so called honor among thieves, but instead of sticking up for Bob, Don cuts him out...

The whole play takes place in the junk shop and in the course of one day. The play is considered a Tragedy for this very matter!

The action of this play is WORDS. Nothing happens in this play but many empty philosophies and words!

Teach talks about how it's their right to go and still form the costumer, and how every man deserves to have what he wants even if it means destroying another. This is the American Dream, something that tells you to fight for what you want and not give up till you have reached it. Step on others to rise and bend ethics to fit it in your own privet interests.
In a way, the play is an interrogation of the business ethics of America.

This play is filled with constant stream of swearing, but keep in mind that Mamet's "language functions as a kind of street poetry, a deliberately embellished dialogue... the language takes on a non-realistic, metaphoric cogency."(Matthew Roudane)
There is always a gap between the words spoken and what the speaker intended to say, and critics say that is the Action of the play!

At the end of the play no heist takes place (wow, so didn't see it coming, huh??)But the honor among thieves is restored.... to some extend. The play both Starts and Ends with men assuring themselves that they are not "mad" at each other...

What makes the play a comedy (in my opinion of course) is how these people think themselves professionals, when they can't even pull of a simple robbery; yet they think themselves very important and stop talking when they see a police car from afar! As if the police care about these want to be thieves!

The last thing I want to say is the significance of the American Buffalo. This magnificent animal is said to be on the verge of extinction, and that is what's happening to friendship. Don is supposed to be Bob's friend, the same way Teach is supposed to be Don's friend; but they end up crossing each other and acting very unfriend like! Irony much?!!
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 1, 2014 – Finished Reading
June 16, 2014 – Shelved
June 16, 2014 – Shelved as: comedy
June 16, 2014 – Shelved as: must-read-for-uni-class
June 16, 2014 – Shelved as: the-is-more-to-this-than-meets-the
June 16, 2014 – Shelved as: play
June 16, 2014 – Shelved as: loved-it

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