Art for Heart’s Sake
“Here, take your juice,” said Koppel, Mr. Ellsworth’s servant and nurse.
“No,” said Collis P. Ellsworth.
“But it’s good for you, sir!”
“The doctor insists on it.”
Koppel heard the front door bell and was glad to leave the room. He found Doctor Caswell in the hall downstairs.
“I can’t do a thing with him,” he told the doctor.” He doesn’t want to take his juice. I can’t persuade him to take his medicine. He doesn’t want me to read to him. He hates TV. He doesn’t like anything!”
Doctor Caswell took the information with his usual professional calm. This was not an ordinary case. The old gentleman was in pretty good health for a man of seventy. But it was necessary to keep him from buying things. His financial transactions always ended in failure, which was bad for his health.
“How are you this morning? Feeling better?” asked the doctor. “I hear you haven’t been obeying my orders.”
The doctor drew up a chair and sat down close to the old man. He had to do his duty. “I’d like to make a suggestion,” he said quietly. He didn’t want to argue with the old man.
Old Ellsworth looked at him over his glasses. The way Doctor Caswell said it made him suspicions. “What is it, more medicine, more automobile rides to keep me away from the office?” the old man asked with suspicion. “Not at all,” said the doctor. “I’ve been thinking of something different. As a matter of fact I’d like to suggest that you should take up art. I don’t mean seriously of course,” said the doctor, “just try. You’ll like it.”
Much to his surprise the old man agreed. He only asked who was going to teach him drawing. “I’ve thought of that too,” said the doctor. “I know a student from an art school who can come round once a week. If you don’t like it, after a little while you can throw him out.” The person he had in mind and promised to bring over was a certain Frank Swain, eighteen years old and a capable student. Like most students he needed money. Doctor Caswell kept his promise.
He got in touch with Frank Swain and the lessons began. The old man liked it so much that when at the end of the f irst lesson Koppel came in and apologised to him for interrupting the lesson, as the old man needed a rest, Ellsworth looked disappointed.
When the art student came the following week, he saw a drawing on the table. It was a vase. But something was definitely wrong with it.
“Well, what do you think of it?” asked the old man stepping aside.
“I don’t mean to hurt you, sir…”, began Swain.
“I see,” the old man interrupted, “the halves don’t match. I can’t say I am good at drawing. Listen, young man,” he whispered. “I want to ask you something before Old Juice comes again. I don’t want to speak in his presence.”
“Yes, sir,” said Swain with respect.
“I’ve been thinking… Could you come twice a week or perhaps three times?”
“Sure, Mr. Ellsworth,” the student said respectfully.
“When shall I come?”
They arranged to meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
As the weeks went by, Swain’s visits grew more frequent. The old man drank his juice obediently. Doctor Caswell hoped that business had been forgotten forever.
When spring came, Ellsworth painted a picture which he called “Trees Dressed in White.” The picture was awful. The trees in it looked like salad thrown up against the wall. Then he announced that he was going to display it at the Summer Show at the Lathrop Gallery. Doctor Caswell and Swain didn’t believe it. They thought the old man was joking.
The summer show at the Lathrop Gallery was the biggest exhibition of the year. All outstanding artists in the United States dreamt of winning a Lathrop prize.
To the astonishment of all “Trees Dressed in White” was accepted for the Show.
Young Swain went to the exhibition one af ternoon and blushed when he saw “Trees Dressed in White”
gi l ‘B0 ii di of the strange picture, Swain rushed out. He was ashamed that a picture like that had been accepted for the show.
However Swain did not give up teaching the old man. Every time Koppel entered the room he found the old man painting something. Koppel even thought of hiding the brush from him. The old man seldom mentioned his picture and was usually cheerful.
Two days before the close of the exhibition Ellsworth received a letter. Koppel brought it when Swain and the doctor were in the room. “Read it to me,” asked the old man putting aside the brush he was holding in his hand. “My eyes are tired from painting.”
The letter said: “It gives the Lathrop Gallery pleasure to announce that Collis P. Kllsworth has been awarded the First Landscape Prize of ten thousand dollars for his painting “Trees Dressed in White”.
Smain became dumb with astonishment. Koppel dropped the glass with juice he was about to give Ellsworth. Doctor Caswell managed to keep calm. “Congratulations, Mr. Ellsworth,” said the doctor. “Fine, fine… Frankly, I didn’t expect that your picture would win the prize. Anyway I’ve proved to you that art is more satisfying than business.”
“Art is nothing. I bought the Lathrop Gallery,” said the old man highly pleased with the effect of his deception.
The extract under analysis is by an American sculptor, cartoonist and writer Reuben Lucius Goldberg. 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. He was even awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for his political cartooning.
“Art for Heart’s Sake” is an artistic satire. The main character-a grumpy old man, was always annoyed and bored. Although he was in a rather good shape, his doctor thought he had to be kept from making useless purchases in order to avoid heart problems. The old man accepted doctor’s proposition to take up art just for fun, and Doctor Caswell arranged for an art student to come once a week and teach Mr. Ellsworth to paint. The patient’s works were bad from the very beginning, but he became more interested in paintings and galleries. One of his most awful works-“Trees Dressed in White”-was accepted for the exhibition at the Lothrop Gallery. Everybody was shocked when Collis P. Ellsworth had been awarded the Lathrop Prize of $1,000. While the doctor, amazed by the news, tried to mumble how important art was in one’s life, the old man admitted he had bought the Gallery, and proved that art was nothing.
This text owes its vividness to the use of different stylistics devices. We can find different devices almost on the all stylistics levels.
In this paragraph we did not manage to find any stylistic devices on the phonetics level.
But it’s good for you, sir.
I hear you haven’t been obeying my orders.
I’d like to make a suggestion.
Such contracted forms as “it’s”, “haven’t”, “I’d” participate in the conveying the atmosphere of colloquial informality of the dialogues in this text.
The old gentleman was in pretty good health for a man of seventy. At the level of stylistic lexicology, of interest is a case genuine metonymy pretty good. It implies to render the physical condition of the old man in the best way.
The person he had in mind and promised to bring over was a certain Frank Swain, eighteen years old and a capable student. The epithet capable is intended for the characteristics of the student.
Like most students he needed money. With the help of the simile like most students, the author attracts the attention to the fact that Frank is just an ordinary young man despite his capability.
The picture was awful. The simple epithet awful is used just for the evaluation of the main character “talent”.
The trees in it looked like salad thrown up against the wall. The simile in this sentence like salad is intended for emphasis and for the better description of the awful picture.
He was ashamed that a picture like that had been accepted for the show. The simile in this utterance demonstrates all the hatefulness of the picture.
The old man seldom mentioned his picture and was usually cheerful. The simple epithet cheerful renders the mood of the old man.
Swain became dumb with astonishment. The hyperbole “dumb” is used here to accent the state of the student when he learnt the news and adds some vividness to the description.
All outstanding artists in the United States dreamt of winning a Lathrop prize. The epithet outstanding and the hyperbole all are used to stress the importance of the exhibition described in the text.
Doctor Caswell took the information with his usual professional calm. The metaphor in this sentence is used to give the description of the doctor’s professionalism.
Swain rushed out. This sentence is marked by the hyperbole rush out which serves for the character state.
I want…I don’t want. The litotes is used in this utterance just to convey the doubts of the speaker.
But something was definitely wrong with it. In this sentence under analysis the author brings into play oxymoron definitely wrong.
He got in touch with Frank Swain and the lessons begin. Get in touch is the set-expression which renders the familiar tone to the text.
Feeling better? Here the ellipsis is used. In this sentence it is the omission of the subject and predicate which are necessary for the complete syntactical construction of this sentence, but it does not prevent its understanding. The stylistic function of ellipsis is to change its tempo, to connect its structure.
The way Doctor Caswell said it made him suspicions. Here we can find the inversion at the beginning of the sentence promoting the object of the sentence into the most conspicuous position, thus adding relevance and importance to it.
The person he had in mind and promised to bring over was a certain Frank Swain, eighteen years old and a capable student. At the level of the stylistic syntax we can find the inversion here. The object is place at the beginning of the sentence to make the accent on it.
I don’t mean to hurt you, sir…Aposiopesis is used in this case to render the inner state of the student, his confusion.
I’ve been thinking… Aposiopesis in this utterance gives the sense of the uncertainty of the main character.
Two days before the close of the exhibition Ellsworth received a letter. One more case of the inversion was found. The adverbial modifier of time was put at the very beginning of the utterance.
It’s good for you, sir! This emphatic sentence conveys the annoyance and excitement of the nurse.
Stylistic Devices of Different Levels Used in Convergence
He doesn’t want to take his juice. He doesn’t want me to read to him. He hates TV. He doesn’t like anything! The author uses gradation here to reveal the male nurse’s despair. In this sentence we can also see such stylistic devise as parallel constructions, combined with epihora “He…he…he”. Such constructions create a certain rhythmic effect.
What is it, more medicine, more automobile rides to keep me away from the office? In the analyzed sentence, the author used the parallel construction. The stylistic effect of parallelism is increased by the anaphora (more…more). These devices are used in convergence just to catch the spirit of the character.
To the astonishment of all “Trees Dressed in White” was accepted for the Show. Here we can find the inversion; the object was place at the beginning of the sentence. It aims to stress the fact of the general surprise. Also the personification is used in this sentence just to give a vivid colorfulness to the text under analysis.
Fine, fine…In this sentence there are several stylistic devices. First of all it is repetition which intensifies the mood of the character. This device is combined with the anaphora (“fine…fine”…). Then, it is the aposiopesis which is used to render the astonishment of the man.
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Art for Heart’s Sake