Curse of the Starving Class

The production Curse of the Starving Class depicts the ‘starving’ class of America and exposes the reality of a poverty-stricken family. It tells the story of a deteriorating farming family attempting to hold onto their personal dreams of a better life while their family as a whole is being destroyed. The cunning manipulation between the estranged parents, Weston and Ella, their disoriented son Wesley, and restless daughter Emma, is what ultimately leads to the destruction of the family, all as a result of being part of the social ‘starving class’.
Throughout the duration of the play, almost everything is symbolic beginning with the name itself. ‘Starving’ in the literal sense is translated here into the constant ‘hunger’ for contentment resulting from inner turmoil within the characters. All of the characters agree that they should not be associated with the starving class, but they all feel hungry.
The symbolism continues with three central objects: the refrigerator, the lamb, and the table. The objects lose their obvious characteristics and transform into symbolic meaning. Each object is reinforced throughout the play by the characters in a repetitive nature to further prove the resemblance of the objects’ characteristics to their own lives.
The refrigerator serves as food storage to be filled with mounds of artichokes that Weston brings home, but is all too often empty. The refrigerator is relentlessly being opened and closed by all members of the family without any purpose, only as habit and is the center of the starvation or hunger theme. It is spoken into by the characters and asked in a prophecy-like manner for a reply, only to be met by silence. This often-dramatic procedure makes the refrigerator the central object and emphasizes the meaning of inner deprivation for the starving family. The refrigerator is the story of their lives as they are all in search of or

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