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Art for Heart's Sake

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Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg (July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970), known best as Rube Goldberg, was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor.

Goldberg is best known for his popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets performing simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. The cartoons led to the expression "Rube Goldberg machines" to describe similar gadgets and processes. Goldberg received many honors in his lifetime, including a Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning in 1948 and the Banshees' Silver Lady Award in 1959.

Goldberg was a founding member and first president of the National Cartoonists Society, and the namesake of the Reuben Award, which the organization awards to its Cartoonist of the Year. He is the inspiration for international competitions, known as Rube Goldberg Machine Contests, which challenge participants to create a complicated machine to perform a simple task.

The popularity of Goldberg's cartoons was such that the term "Goldbergian" was in use in print by 1915


The text under analysis is a short story. It’s a satire. 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 basic theme of the text – is the power (influence) of money in American society.

Through the text “Art for Heart’s Sake”, R. Goldberg touched upon a general theme - art. The specific aspect of art presented in the text-painting-was introduced by one of the characters(Doctor Caswell) as a healing supplement for avoiding a potential heart attack. This was also suggested by the title, which is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s concept “Art for Art’s Sake”

Theme - loneliness that influences on human’s behavior.


America before the Great Depression – somewhere around 1920-1925. It was the Golden Decade of millioners who made their fortune because they were stockholders of many successful companies. They could do nothing and purchase whatever they wanted. Actions mostly take place in Ellsworth’s house and the Lathrop Gallery.


The narrator used the third-person limited omniscient (objective-dramatic) point of view. The narrator is completely outside the action of the story, simply a voice telling of a story that happened to other characters. The narrator is reliable. There are such compositional types of speech as: narration, dialog and description. The mood is humorous for the most part.


The first part is an introduction starting with a dialogue between the old man and the male nurse. EXPOSITION 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. NOUEMENT

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. RISING ACTION



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