The Arts versus Materialism
When the play starts out, Joe is a talented musician whose dream is to play beautiful violin music. To this end, Joe’s father, Mr. Bonaparte, secretly buys a very expensive violin for his son’s birthday. Mr. Bonaparte’s friend, Mr. Carp, plays the pessimist asking: ‘‘could a boy make a living playing this instrument in our competitive civilization today?’’ Mr. Bonaparte’s response illustrates the idea that art and financial success do not always go hand in hand: ‘‘Don’t expect for Joe to be a millionaire. He don’t need it, to be millionaire.’’ However, Joe has other plans. When he announces to his family that he is going to fight, he says it is for money: ‘‘I’m good—I went out to earn some money and I earned! I had a professional fight tonight— maybe I’ll have some more.’’ But the decision is not this easy for Joe. Although he does become a boxer, he holds back during his first several fights, afraid to hurt his hands and forever lose music as a possible career. When Mr. Bonaparte goes to visit Joe’s managers to find out how he is doing, Roxy tells him of their intentions: ‘‘We want to make your boy famous—a millionaire, but he won’t let us—won’t cooperate.’’ This phrase, ‘‘a millionaire,’’ echoes Mr. Bonaparte’s earlier comment to Mr. Carp.
Once the managers find out from Mr. Bonaparte that Joe is afraid to break his hands for fear of not...
(The entire section is 1104 words.)
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