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Analysis of the Text "Art for Heart Sake"

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The story “Art for Heart’s Sake” was written by Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970), an American sculptor, cartoonist and writer. After graduating from the University of California in 1904 he works as a cartoonist for a number of newspapers and magazines. He produced several series of cartoons all of which were highly popular. Among his best works are “Is There a Doctor in the House?” (1929), “Rube Goldberg’s Guide to Europe” (1954) and “I Made My Bed” (1960).
The story we are analyzing is “Art for Heart’s Sake”. The title of the story tells the readers that the narration, obviously, will be about some men of art. Moreover, we can suppose that the author would like to say that art’s aim is to eradicate human shortcomings.
As for genre of “Art for Heart’s Sake” we can say that it is a humor story. The problems raised in the story are urgent nowadays – money can buy everything, art is eternal, but everybody values it from one’s own point of view, at the same time not everyone is allowed to realize what real art is.
The plot of the story is intricate. It centers on an old man Collis P. Ellsworth who has troubles with his health when his financial transactions end in failure. In order to find for him a new interest Doctor Caswell offers him to take up painting, just for pleasure. And it was a great surprise when Ellsworth’s awful painting was not only accepted for the Show at the Lathrop Gallery, but took the First Prize!
In conclusion, the protagonist says that art is nothing, that he bought the Lathrop Gallery, what surely doesn’t coincide with the reader’s expectations.
The story is told by the author. He is a person who knows everything about the facts and characters but does not take any part in the action of the story.
We can divide “Art for Heart’s Sake” into three parts. The first one is Collis P. Ellsworth’s life before taking up art. The second part is his “studying”. And third one is his success.
The story begins with the dialogue between Mr. Ellsworth and his male nurse Koppel from which we can see that the old man is very grumpy. He refuses to follow the doctor’s orders. To display the heavy character of Collis P. Ellsworth R.Goldberg uses colloquial words in his speech (“nope”, “rot”, “bosh”). To show Koppel’s irritation the author uses anaphora:
“He won’t take his pineapple juice. He doesn’t want me to read to him. He hates the radio. He doesn’t like anything!”
Speaking about the way how R. Goldberg reaches the humor affect we should mention zeugma which he uses:
“All his purchases of recent years had to be liquidated at a great sacrifice both to his health and his pocketbook”
In the second part the readers can see Mr. Ellsworth taking up art. His teacher is a young promising student of the Atlantic Art Institute. Retelling the conversation between Doctor Caswell and his friend, Judson Livingston, the author uses represented speech (“He needed the money. Ran an elevator at night to pay tuition. How much would he get? Five dollars a visit. Fine.”) to show how the young student needs money. These sentences are extremely laconic and dynamic.
R. Goldberg uses also elliptical sentences inside this represented speech (“Ran an elevator at night to pay tuition. Five dollars a visit. Fine.”).
Colloquial words and phrases are also can be found here: “by gum”, “poppycock”, “gob” to make the narration more natural. Moreover, the readers can pay attention to the word “color”. It tells us that the author of the story is American.
As for the third part, Collis P. Ellsworth success, the author uses the stylistic device of interrupted speech and aposiopesis:
“Doctor Caswell, exercising his professional self-control with a supreme effort, said: “Congratulations, Mister Ellsworth. Fine, fine… See, see… Of course, I didn’t expect such great news. But, but… well, not…”
We can suppose that the doctor’s first thought was “It’s impossible” or something like that but he managed to pull himself together and remark in a more polite way “I didn’t expect such great news”.
The story “Art for Heart’s Sake” is based on the device “defeated expectancy”. We hope that the passion of the old man for large buyings disappeared but on contrary he bought the Lathrop Gallery, what surely doesn’t coincide with the reader’s expectations.
The author method of characters’ portrayal is indirect. From Koppel’s words we can understand that Mr. Ellsworth has a very heavy character. Speaking about Swain the readers see that he is ready to stand the old man’s whims because he really needs money.
The controlling idea of the story conveyed by the author sounds like this – you can buy the gallery, but you cannot buy the art itself.
I like this story very much because its aim is not only to entertain. It makes us think over things which we cannot buy. So, being externally a humorous story, it arouses more serious problem – problem of eternity and integrity of art.

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