Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 585
Victor Franz is a middle-aged New York police officer who is selling off his late father and mother's furniture. His father lost his business during the Great Depression and Victor, in his own mind, sacrificed to stay at home to keep his father "off the grass" where the other ruined businessmen were sleeping. As Victor says "some men don't bounce". He never pursued his interest in science because he thought he needed to support the family. The father actually had $4,000 left, and his brother Walter knew this which is why he turned down loaning $500 to Victor to go to school and told him to ask his father. Victor both admired and resented Walter for moving on with his own life. The misunderstandings over the years are brought up when Walter comes and they finally talk through their differences.
Esther Franz is Victor's wife. She initially comes across as nagging, excessively shallow, materialistic and resentful. As the play progresses it becomes apparent that she has correctly assessed that she and Victor have become stuck, unable to move on to the next stage of their lives and dreams. She is trying to get Victor to reconcile with his brother and move on (she is correct). Victor has been the dutiful public servant that played it straight but he is approaching retirement and doesn't know what to do next. She wants to travel and have money, but it's not clear why she doesn't start a business or work herself. She has just come from her doctor and has already had a drink even though it is still daytime. She blames Victor, and Victor somehow blames Walter his successful brother.
Gregory Solomon is a man that can bounce. He is almost ninety and still has an eye to the main chance. Through all of the ensuing Franz family conflict and Walter's potentially better idea about the high appraisal and tax write off he has spotted a few valuable items he wants like the beautiful harp (the base is cracked he keeps reminding them) and is willing to take the whole lot for the few valuable items. He is full of banter and folksy wisdom and Victor is having none of it and just wants to get to the number. Victor has been in sales before and views the whole exchange with suspicion and misses the bigger lessons to be learned. Victor seems determined to stay stuck despite challenges to see things differently from his wife and from the generous offers of reconciliation and working together from his brother.
Walter Franz is Victor's brother, a successful doctor, that has been out of communication with his brother because of the demands of his work and because he knows his brother resents him. He has gone through his own trials in life and has come out the better for them and wishes to reconcile with Victor. He doesn't want his half of the sale (to help his brother) suggests Victor have the dealer Solomon appraise the furniture for $25,000 and use half of the amount as a tax write off. That would give Victor over $6,000 instead of the $1,100 he has agreed to on his own with the dealer (of which half would normally go to Walter). Walter even offers him the entire $12,000 and a job working at one of his new clinics. Victor is so envy and resentful that he stubbornly turns it all down so he can hold on to his self-righteousness when it is really just based on envy and resentment.
Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 718
Victor Franz, a fifty-year-old police sergeant in New York City. Frustrated and disillusioned, Victor lives almost exclusively in the past, conveniently blaming his brother for the direction that his life has taken and unwilling to accept that he alone, by his own free will, charted his own destiny. He has a strong sense of familial loyalty. Victor’s self-esteem and self-worth rest solely in...
(The entire section contains 1303 words.)
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