What is Tommy's profession? His work hours?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would like to discuss the prison theme a little more and expand on how Tommy's long work hours are a symbol of his defeat and his entrapment. As a young boy, Tommy Castelli fantasized about leaving the destitute life of the tenement. Although he starts out his vocational training in shoe-making, it is not long before he starts to question his choice of occupation. Restless and adrift, he falls into a life of crime. Desperate to impress the ladies and to appear more successful than he actually is, he continues in this vein until he can stand no more.

His father promises him a candy store paid for by Rosa Agnelli's father. The only stipulation? He would have to marry the lady herself. Again, he feels trapped; he is disgusted by the quid pro quo (something in exchange for something—Latin) arrangement, as he is hardly attracted to poor Rosa. Once again, he runs away, this time to Texas. However, things don't work out and he is once more forced to make hard choices. He returns to New York, chastened and defeated. After marrying Rosa, he settles into the daily monotony with resignation. He is a hen-pecked husband, and his spirit is so bowed down by his life that he neither fights back nor attempts to regain his self-respect. He is dominated by his wife and trapped in the dreary prison of his soul crushing existence as a candy store proprietor.

teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tommy is the proprietor of a small candy store in Greenwich Village, New York.

His work hours are long: he toils from eight in the morning until midnight every day. He takes a one hour nap break every day.

Read the study guide:
The Prison

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