African American drama has, until recently, been rooted in the mimetic tradition of modern American naturalism. The most distinctive attribute of this tradition is the mechanistic, materialistic conception of humanity. Naturalism sees each individual as inextricably bound to the environment and depicts each person as someone controlled by, instead of controlling, concrete reality. As long as African American drama maintained naturalism as its dominant mode, it could only express the "plight of African American people". Its heroes might declare the madness of reality, but reality inevitably triumphed over them. The surrealistic plays of Adrienne Kennedy mark one of the first departures from naturalism by an African American dramatist. The overall goal of her work has been to depict the world of the soul and the spirit, not to mirror concrete reality. Within this framework, Kennedy has been able to portray African American minds and souls liberated from their connections to the external environment.