Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Poor of New York Passages Group 3

Grace, Laura, Joey, Arkin

Act II Scene 1

 Paul. And now to hunt for work—to go from office to office pleading for employment—to be met always with the same answer-"we are full"—or "we are dischargings hands"—Livingstone, I begin to envy the common laborer who has no fears, no care, beyond his food and shelter—I am beginning to lose my pity for the poor.
Liv. The poor! —whom do you call the poor? Do you know them? do you see them? they are more frequently found under a black coat than under a red shirt. The poor man is the clerk with a family, forced to maintain a decent suit of clothes, paid for out of the hunger of his children. The poor man is the artist who is obliged to pledge the tools of his trade to buy medicines for his sick wife. The lawyer who, craving for employment, buttons up his thin paletot to hide his shirtless breast. These needy wretches are poorer than the poor, for they are obliged to conceal their poverty with the false mask of content—smoking a cigar to disguise their hunger—they drag from their pockets their last quarter, to cast it with studied carelessness, to the beggar, whose mattress at home is lined with gold. These are the most miserable of the Poor of New York.
[A small crowd has assembled round Livingstone during this Speech; they take him for an orator; one of them takes down what he says on tablets.]
Enter Policeman,
Puffy and crowd. Bravo—Bravo—Hurrahget on the bench
Police. Come—I say—this won't do.

Liv. What have I done?

Police. No stumping to the population allowed in the Park.

Liv. Stumping!

Reporter. Oblige me with your name, sir, for the Herald.

Liv. Oh! [Rushes off, followed by Paul]
This scene displays Paul's characterization as a victimized protagonist. He is unable to find a job in the new and industrialized capricious capitalist economy. In the modern world, Paul is a member of the professional managerial class and he describes the humiliation of going "from office to office pleading for employment—to be met always with the same answer" (18). The selection also contains Livingston's monologue confronting the oversimplification of the plight of the poor. According to him, people who may appear to be in professional managerial class face just as many struggles as the poor. It is not simply the poor who are victimized in this melodrama, but the middle class who "are obliged to conceal their poverty with the false mask of content." At least the poor can openly revel in their sorrows.

Act V Scene 3

Enter Paul, Lucy, and Mrs. Fairweather.
Paul. No, sir; a bride who can place the hand of a pure and loving maiden in that of a good and honest man.
Blood. How dare you intrude in this house?
Paul. Because it is mine; because your whole fortune will scarcely serve to pay the debt you owe the widow and the children of Adam Fairweather!
Blood. Is my house to be invaded by beggars like these! Edwards, send for the police. Is there no law in New York for ruffians?
Enter Badger, in the uniform of an officer of police.
Bad. Yes, plenty—and here's the police.

Blood. Badger!

Bad. What's left of him.

Blood. [Wildly.] Is this a conspiracy to ruin me?
Bad. That's it. We began it twenty years ago; we've been hatching it ever since; we let you build up a for- tune; we tempted you to become an incendiary; we led you on from misdemeanor to felony—and that's what I want you for.
Blood. What do you mean?
Bad. My meaning is set forth very clearly in an affi- davit, on which the Recorder, at this very late hour for business, issued this warrant for your arrest.
Enter two Policemen. Alida falls in a chair.
Blood. Incendiary! Dare you charge a man of my standing in this city, with such a crime, without any cause?
Bad. Cause! you wanted to burn up this receipt, which I was just in time to rescue from the flames!
Blood. [Drawing a knife.] Fiend! you escaped the flames here—now go to those hereafter
Bad. Hollo! [Disarms Bloodgood, and slips a pair of handcuffs on him.] Gideon—my dear Gideon—don't lose your temper. [Throws him back, manacled, on the sofa.
Paul. Miss Bloodgood, let me lead you from this room.
Alida. [Rises, and crosses to her father.] Father.
Blood. Alida, my child.

Alida. Is this true? [A pause.] It is—I read it in your quailing eye—on your paling lips. And it was for this that you raised me to the envied position of the rich
Blood. Alida—my child my childit was for you alone I sinned—do not leave me.

Alida. What should I do in this city? can I earn my bread? what am I fit for—with your tainted name and my own sad heart? [Throws down her bride's coronet.] I am fit for the same fate as yours—infamy. [Exit.]
Bad. Duke, you had better see that lady out, [Exit Duke.] Gideon, my dear, allow me to introduce you to two friends of mine, who are anxious to make your acquaintance.
Blood. Take me away; I have lost my child—my Ahda; take me away; hide me from all the world.
Paul. Stay! Mr. Bloodgood, in the midst of your crime there was one virtue: you loved your child; even now your heart deplores her ruin—not your own. Badger, give me that receipt. [Takes the receipt from Badger.] Do you acknowledge this paper to be genuine?
Blood. I do.
Paul. [Tears it.] I have no charge against you. Let him be released. Restore to me my fortune, and take the rest; I go, follow your child; save her from ruin, and live a better life.
Blood. I cannot answer you as I would. [Turns aside in tears and goes out with Policemen and Badger, who releases Bloodgood.]
Liv. That was nobly done, Paul. Now, my friends, since all is prepared for my marriage let the ceremony proceed.
This scene is the big revelation that concludes the melodrama. Bloodgood and Badger exchange  hyperbolic dialogue during the climax of the play in which the wealthy aristocrat is revealed as the bad guy. Bloodgood speaks with wild indignation and panic, while Badger chiefly speaks in snide one-liners. This passage is also another example of melodrama as a reaction to the emerging world of capitalism and financial institutions. Bloodgood is quite literally the evil banker and an embodiment of capitalism.

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