Last Updated on March 16, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1360
In 1941, Kavalier and Clay have their best year of earnings to date. Sammy buys himself a phonograph and eats out often, but he still has more money than he knows what to do with. Rosa, who has essentially moved in with the pair, suggests he should get married, but Sammy always has an excuse not to meet girls. He himself doesn’t know why he doesn't want to.
He is working on a script for “Kid Vixen,” a comic about female boxers, and he broods over the fact that his mother thinks his vocation isn’t worthwhile. He does, however, look forward to a visit to the radio studio where soon-to-be-broadcast adaptation of The Escapist is being recorded.
Joe and Sammy meet the cast of The Escapist. The very tall and handsome Tracy Bacon will be playing Tom. Both Joe and Sammy think he looks and sounds the part. Joe has to leave, and he tells Sammy he doesn’t want to come back to Ethel’s for dinner with him—he would rather go out with Rosa. Sammy explains this to Bacon when he asks where Joe is going. Bacon then asks Sammy to come out with him for a drink. Because this is the first big part he has ever taken and he wants to be good, he would like Sammy to tell him all about the Escapist.
Sammy is flattered to be addressed by a man like Bacon, but says he cannot, as he has promised to be at Ethel’s for dinner at six.
Bacon persuades Sammy to get a drink, and the pair go to a bar and drink too much. As they talk, Sammy decides Bacon is lonely in New York. He takes Bacon home to Ethel’s and introduces him. They are late to dinner, but Bacon impresses Ethel by asking if he can help in the kitchen and then complimenting her food.
Sammy tells his mother that Joe wanted to come but had an engagement with Rosa, whom he very much likes. He thinks Joe might stay in the country because of Rosa. He says he would like to meet someone nice, too. Ethel agrees that she would like this for him.
Rosa wakes to find Joe looking at his naked reflection. She wonders if he is noticing that he has gained weight, becoming less skinny and more American. He is nervous because he is going to perform as a magician at Rosa’s cousin’s bar mitzvah, having performed at the Hoffmann reception the previous year. He is out of practice and fears that he will be made fun of.
Rosa’s father appears with a brown suit for Joe and a tuxedo of his own to “add mystery” to the act. The three of them toast to “the Amazing Cavalieri,” Joe’s stage name, and Rosa’s father says he is welcome in the Saks family.
Joe’s last letter from his mother confirms that Thomas is on his way to America and that the family is as well as could be expected. She asks Joe to forget her and his grandfather, and says she will not write again but that she thinks of him always.
Joe looks at the letter every day, feeling guilty about his love for Rosa and the fact that he has ceased to be in a constant state of misery.
Joe doesn’t tell Rosa about the letter. Rosa catches sight of it while Joe is setting up for the bar mitzvah performance, but Joe does not respond to her question about it. He puts on his new tuxedo and his mask.
A “strange… cry” echoes from the door of the venue, and Joe sees a white-jacketed waiter fleeing.
While the Steel Gauntlet, Kapitan Evil, Swastika Man and their crew work in Europe, the Saboteur is based in Empire City with the Spy Queen. The couple are part of the United Snakes of America, a group which plots to disrupt and thwart the United States.
The Saboteur rents a lair uptown. Tonight he is headed for the Pierre, where a bar mitzvah is about to begin. One night last year the Amazing Cavalieri performed there, and Carl Ebling—the Saboteur’s less interesting...
(The entire section contains 1360 words.)
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