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i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

The Adding Machine - EL 267

January 29, 2005

I really enjoyed reading Elmer L. Rice's "The Adding Machine." I admit to feeling skeptical about the idea of reading a play. I thought it would prove to be distracting or annoying. Instead, I quite enjoyed it.

The play is about a man named Zero who spends 25 years of his life working for the same company at the same job. On the day of his 25th anniversary he expects to be given a pay raise and possibly a promotion. Imagine his distress when he gets fired instead, replaced by a new fangled adding machine.

I won't ruin the story for those of you who haven't read it, but I will say that I enjoyed the deeper significance of the story. For my paper, I am somewhat analyzing the cultural values at the time compared with what is going on in the play. I found an interesting connection between this play and the steel industry and I'm hoping to use that in my paper.

Moira at 02:54 PM :: Comments (5) :: ::
Comments:

Hey just got through the first 100 pages today before I got called to dinner (I'm home for the weekend), so thanks for not spoiling the ending! The story is an interesting one, what with Zero and his wife Mrs. Zero--even added or multiplied, they're still nothings. Whereas their friends (One through Twelve, it seems) have a bit of sense to add up--they have value.

I hope to finish the play soon so I can correspond with you more on my thoughts. You're connecting the steel industry with it? Hmmm... very cool. Can't wait to see how that pans out.

Posted by: Karissa at January 29, 2005 10:23 PM

I might be going out on a limb with the steel industry idea but once i have something more solid than a vague idea, I'll have to discuss it with you so you can tell me what you think. Let me know what you think of the play when you're finished. :c)

Posted by: moira at January 30, 2005 08:57 AM

Moira, Rice was very interested in labor rights and mechanism. There's a copy of my book in the SHU library... if you want to know more about Rice's attitudes towards labor, see page 29.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 30, 2005 09:53 AM

Sweet! I'll have to check that out.. might come in handy with my paper. Thanks for the idea! ;c)

Posted by: moira at January 30, 2005 10:35 AM

Well, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, Moira :-/ I did finish the play, and it struck me as odd, really. I'm not sure how you're wrapping the steel thing in there, but I'll be interested to know!

Personally, I'm worrying over the numbers--given and hidden within the play. I've been mathing the whole play (an English major voluntarily doing math *faint*), and that's what my close reading is about :-) Today's class should be a good one!

Posted by: Karissa at February 3, 2005 11:55 AM
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