Art for heart’s sake.
The author of the extract under analysis is an American sculptor, cartoonist and writer Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970). Rube Goldberg began practicing his art skills at the age of four when he traced illustrations from the humorous book History of the United States. After graduating from the University of California in 1904 he worked as a cartoonist for a number of newspapers and magazines. Goldberg is best known for a series of popular cartoons he created depicting complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect way. 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 text under analysis is a short story Art for heart’s sake. The title of the story reveals its subject matter, but it is only when we have read the whole story we shall understand what underlies this title. The story is told from the point of view of the author. From the point of view of presentation the text is a 3rd person narration with dialogues of the characters. Since the text under consideration presents a story it belongs to belles-lettres style, emotive prose substyle. The character drawing is of a mixture type because the author both describes his characters directly through words and through their actions, attitudes to other personages. The author managed to depict all his characters with genuine skills. Koppel, doctor Caswell, Swain and Ellsworth were described mostly through their behaviour, speech and dialogues. The first character who was introduced to the reader was the male nurse Koppel. He was the helper of doctor Caswell to treat the old man. The author described how hard it was. He used gradation to reveal the male nurse’s despair (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!). Koppel couldn’t do a thing with the old man. The nurse even tried to prevent him from exhibiting the Trees Dressed in White as the old man could become a laughing-stock.
Anxious and uneasy Koppel sets off calm and gentle Doctor Caswell. He is a professional and thinks a lot about his patients (He had done some constructive thinking since his last visit. Making proposition to the old man he took his stethoscope ready in case the abruptness of the suggestion proved too much for the patient’s heart. In spite of rude and vigorous Ellsworth’s answers like Rot and Bosh Caswell managed to persuade him to take up art with his professional calm). He understood Ellsworth was no ordinary case. The doctor preferred not to interfere when Ellsworth decided to exhibit his painting at the gallery. Doctor Caswell was the only man who managed with a supreme effort to congratulate the old man on the First Prize while Swain and Koppel uttered a series of inarticulate gurgles. One mistake the doctor made is he thought it safe to allow Ellsworth to visit museums and galleries.
The next character is Frank Swain. He is a 18 year-old promising student. Like Caswell, Swain was also patient. The author used such a simile (there was a drawing on the table which had a slight resemblance to the vase) to outline the Swain’s reaction (Not bad, sir. It’s a bit lopsided). Swain is professional too. As his visits grew more frequent he brought a box of water-colors and some tubes of oils. He was not indifferent to Ellsworth and worried about the picture Trees Dressed in White. He was forced to sneak into the Gallery and see the picture with his own eyes.
The most inconsistent character is Collis P.Ellsworth. He behaved like a child with the nurse. The author used many slang words (rot, bosh, by gum, poppycock) to display the old man’s attitude to Koppel, Swain and Doctor, to emphasize such traits of his character as arrogance, confidence, whimsicality. The old man is rude, scornful but also clever and cunning. The author emphasizes the old man behaves like a...
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