The text under interpretation is a short story Art For Heart`s Sake by Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg (July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970), who was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. He is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. Goldberg was a founding member and the first president of the National Cartoonists Society, and he is the namesake of the Reuben Award, which the organization awards to the Cartoonist of the Year.
Goldberg produced several series of cartoons all of which were highly popular. Among his best works are Is There a Doctor in the House? , Rube Goldberg`s Guide to Europe and I Made My Bed. The given extract introduces the readers to a story of a wealthy man called Collins Ellsworth who is treated for a disorder which causes irresistible desire of buying things, more commonly referred to as compulsive shopping or oniomania. The man`s obsessive condition leads him to unfortunate results and health problems. Knowing this, Mr Caswell, his doctor, suggests trying some art therapy.Order now
This therapy seems to be effective at first, and Caswell`s client even evinces interest to painting and the general drift of affairs in art galleries. subsequently Ellsworth executes a nonsensical unskillful work, which, to everybody`s astonishment, he later exhibits at the Lathrop Gallery. That picture gets the 1st prize of the Exhibition. The story ends with a revelation of the method that helped the old man win the prize. From the point of view of its composition, the story may be divided into four parts.
The first part is an introduction starting with a dialogue between the old man and the male nurse. Which annoys the latter very much as the patient is a very disagreeable man, who refuses to follow doctor`s orders. Here we get acquainted with Ellsworth with his inherent disrespect for the people around him. Whether it is a male nurse or a doctor, who are with him in order to help, the businessman pulls no punches. It was not the first outburst of Ellsworth. So, instead of trying to demand an apology, the doctor suggests a new way of getting rid of old man`s problems.
That`s where the 2nd part of the story starts. In this part we get to know that doctor considers busying his patient with art to be a way out. The idea of Caswell is to bring a young student Frank Swain to the patient. When Swain arrives to Ellsworth`s house, he starts the therapy, suggesting that the man should try to paint a vase. The old grump starts unwillingly. The first attempts do not meet success, but the practice leads to progress as the vase on the painting gradually develops resemblance to the one on the mantelpiece.
Ellsworth asks Swain for more hours and seems to forget about his obsession. He becomes curious about what`s going on in art galleries. Some idea arises in his head. The third part of the extract is connected with the events in the Lathrop Gallery. There was an exhibition in it, which as a lifetime dream of the mature artists. And the newly-made artist Ellsworth aimed at showing his amateurish awkward painting there. The male nurse, Koppel, is sure that if it happens, the old man will become a laughing stock.
But the doctor orders him to forbear from interfering in Ellsworth`s business not to ruin their achievements. The painting is accepted, but luckily for the worried fellows, it hangs in a corner where people can barely see it. This part also tells us about the events that took place two days before the closing of an exhibition. Swain, Koppel and the doctor witness a strange follow-up to the story. the old man receives a letter which surprises the people even more: the First Prize of the Lathrop Exhibition has been awarded to Ellsworth`s painting Trees Dressed in White.
The part ends with the reaction of the men: the male nurse and the student remain inarticulate, and the astonished doctor pulls himself together and, trying to keep his countenance, gives his compliments to Ellsworth, and requests the man to admit that art is more satisfying than business. The last passage of the text, the fourth and the shortest part of it, contains the predictable and the only imaginable explanation to what has happened: Ellsworth demolishes Caswell`s assertion as it turns out that he has purchased the Lathrop Gallery the month before. The main character of the story is the businessman Collins Ellsworth.
The supporting characters are his male nurse, Koppel, Ellsworth`s young art teacher, Frank Swain, and Doctor Caswell. The characters are revealed to us indirectly, through their speech, behavior and attitude towards the others. The idea of the text is showing that one cannot change the person until he wants to change himself. We can see Ellsworth with his irresistible desire of buying things, in the beginning. He is the one who lets his disorder rich its culmination at the end of the story, and despite the efforts of his doctor and other people, buys another unnecessary thing.
The biggest one in his collection of unneeded. The given text is a third-person narration intercepted with the pieces of dialogue. The general slant of the extract is humorous and ironic. But the mood of the story changes sometimes, as there`s no irony, but irritation in the beginning, when we see poor Koppel unable to cooperate with the old man, or the shame, when the discouraged characters see Ellsworth`s Trees Dressed in White. The main character, Collins Ellsworth is an impolite and rude man. His speech is full of rough interjections such as “Nope! , “Umph! “, “Bosh! “, “Such a foolishness”, Poppycock! “, which emphasize his aggressiveness and selfishness.
The supporting characters in contrast to the old man are patient and polite. Dr Caswell is a professional (“. . . with his usual professional calm . . . ”) and sensible (“He had done some constructive thinking . . . .”), despite his patient`s behaviour, he has a sense of compassion, always acting with Ellsworth’s best interests at heart. Koppel, the first character we meet, is desperate in his struggle with Ellsworth.
The hopelessness of trying to work with the old grump is accentuated with the help of gradation and repetition (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! ). As the case of Ellsworth`s disorder is revealed to the reader, we get to know that Ellsworth is to be cured immediately, and his purchases are characterized with the epithet disastrous. These very purchases are to be liquidated, as the zeugma that we come across accentuates, at a great sacrifice both to his health and his pocketbook.
The old man continues to generate his rude remarks as he hears about doctor`s idea. “Rot”, he says, and, according to the doctor`s reaction, it was not the worst reply, as Caswell obviously was ready for something more terrible, but then felt relieve, speaking ironically of the disaster that had been averted. Ellsworth gets to know about the teacher of his. His conversation with doctor is represented in a form of half-reported speech. The young man comes and being given an apprising look. This look once again shows Ellsworth`s scornful attitude towards those around him.
Ellsworth`s painting progress is depicted with the help of an irony: a drawing on the table had a slight resemblance to the vase. The businessman`s working is characterized with the simile: he paints like a child playing with a picture book. This immature behaviour is complemented with the next in turn by the metonymy (old pineapple juice comes back), that points out the old man`s habitual disregard towards his doctor. The man`s progress is described with the set of parallel constructions (Ellsworth would talk about the graceful lines of the andirons.
He would dwell on the rich variety of colour in a bowl of fruit, he proudly displayed the variegated smears of paint on his heavy silk dressing gown. He would not allow his valet to send it to the cleaner`s. he wanted to show the doctor how hard he`d been working). As Ellsworth gets acquainted with the world of the Museums and Galleries he`s being caught by its charming mysteries. The revolution of the seasons is portrayed with the wonderful metaphor: the spring sun cloaks the fields and gardens with colour. The old man`s idea, as he reveals in his startling announcement, is taking part in the exhibition.
In order to do that he creates an ugly picture, which imperfection is described with the epithet god-awful smudge. That exhibition is a lifetime dream of the mature artists, so old man`s participation in it was shocking and out of place. Trees Dressed in white was not just bad. As the simile from the text imparts, it is like a salad dressing thrown violently up against the side of a house. The male nurse wants to stop Ellsworth, not to let him become a laughing stock, but the doctor insists on letting him finish, as they`ve got too far to lose everything.
Luckily, the place where the picture hangs is inconspicuous. The metaphor a raucous splash on the wall reminds us about picture`s ugliness. It`s all is followed up by the ironies, which retell that the masterpiece was noticed by the people and as some guys stopped next to the Ellsworth`s strange anomaly, Swain fled in terror. When the letter from the Gallery arrives, Ellsworth requests somebody to read it, as his eyes, ironically, are tired from painting. The news is announced: the Gallery gives Ellsworth the first prize.
The reaction of the characters, excluding the old man is quite predictable. While Koppel and Swain, overwhelmed by surprise, try to regain their ability to speak, the doctor congratulates the old grump, which is not easy, or, as the epithet says, is a supreme effort. In the end the reader gets to know that there was no miracle in Ellsworth`s win, that the old man owns a Gallery now. His last remark (Art`s nothing … I bought the Lathrop Gallery last month) crowns the story, proving the point that nothing has changed in him.