The Art for Heart’s sake was written by Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970). He was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor, was born in San Francisco. Goldberg is best known for a series of popular cartoons he created depicting complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect way. Rube Goldberg began practicing his art skills at the age of four when he traced illustrations from the humorous book History of the United States. Among his best works are Is There a Doctor in the House? (1929), Rube Goldberg’s Guide to Europe (1954) and I made My Bed (1960).
Art for Heart’s sake is about the old man Collis P. Ellsworth who has troubles with his health. Doctor Caswell offers him to take up painting, for a chance. In some time Ellsworth painted an awful picture which was no a work of art at all. To bewilderment of the doctor this painting was not only accepted for the Show at the Lathrop Gallery, but took the First Prize. The old man just explained that he had bought this gallery last month.
The idea of this text is everything can be bought for money. Value of art will vanish if everyone foists his god-awful smudge as an eternal work of art. The text is written as a 3rd person narration with dialogues of the personages. This text can be divided into the following parts. The first is doctor’s suggestion to take up art. The second is Swain’s lessons. The third is about the Trees Dressed in White. The forth is the culminating point of the text. Ellsworth was awarded with the First Prize for his painting. The last one is Ellsworth’s confession. That he had bought the gallery, that’s all.
The prevailing mood of the text is humorous. The author underlines the old man behaves like a child (he replied Nope on the male nurse suggestion many times. He colored the open spaces blue like a child playing with a picture book. He proudly displayed the variegated smears of paint on his heavy silk dressing gown. He requested someone to read his envelope because his eyes were tired from painting. It was done specially to archive strong effect). At the end the author used the effect of defeated expectancy. When the old man confessed that he just bought that gallery.
A lot of lexical and stylistical devices were used in this text. The author managed to depict all his characters with genuine skills. Koppel, doctor Caswell, Swain and Ellsworth were described not direct but through their behaviour, speech and dialogues.
The first character who was introduced to the reader was the male nurse Koppel. He was the helper of doctor Caswell to treat the old man. The author described how hard it was. He used gradation to reveal the male nurse’s despair (He won’t take his pineapple juice. He doesn’t want me to read to him. He hates the radio. He doesn’t like anything!). Koppel couldn’t do a thing with the old man. Despite he tried to prevent him from exhibiting the Trees Dressed in White as the old man could become a laughing-stock.
To the contrary to anxious and uneasy Koppel calm and gentle Doctor Caswell introduced in front of us. He is a professional and thinks a lot about his patients (He had done some constructive thinking since his last visit. Making proposition to the old man he took his stethoscope ready in case the abruptness of the suggestion proved too mush for the patient’s heart. In spite of rude and vigorous Ellsworth’s answers like Rot and Bosh Caswell managed to persuade him to take up art with his professional calm). He understood Ellsworth was no ordinary case. Further unintentionally the old man’s diagnosis was described. The author used zeugma for the irony (All his purchases of recent years had to be liquidated at a great sacrifice both to his health and his pocketbook).
The doctor preferred not to interfere when Ellsworth decided to exhibit his painting at the gallery. Doctor Caswell was the only man who managed with a supreme effort to congratulate the old man on the First Prize while Swain and Koppel uttered a series of inarticulate gurgles. One mistake the doctor made is he thought it safe to allow Ellsworth to visit museums and galleries.
The next personage is Frank Swain. He is 18 years old and a promising student. He has some simile with the doctor. Swain was also patient. The author used such simile (there was a drawing on the table which had a slight resemblance to the vase) to underline the Swain’s reaction (Not bad, sir. It’s a bit lopsided). Swain is professional too. As his visits grew more frequent he brought a box of water-colors and some tubes of oils. He was no indifferent to the Ellsworth and worried about the picture Trees Dressed in White. He was forced to sneak into the Gallery and see the picture his own eyes.
At least the most inconsistent personage is Ellsworth. As it was mentioned before he behaved like a child. The author used many slang words (rot, bosh, by gum, poppycock) to display that the old man’s attitude to the Koppel, Swain and Doctor, to emphasize such trait of the character as foolishness, confidence, independence. Originally the old man was not sure to take up art. He looked appraisingly at Swain and drew the scrawls expecting the Swain’s critic (the wrinkles deepened at the corners of the old man’s eyes as he asked elfishly what he thought of it). In some time he asked Swain to come three times a week. It tells about his progress in painting. The author used personification (I want to ask you something before old pineapple juice comes back). It reveals the old man’s attitude to the male nurse. Then represented speech of the old man was used (How were the galleries run? Who selected the canvases for the exhibition?). Ellsworth displayed his insatiable curiosity about the galleries but in fact being a person who couldn’t help from buying anything he formed an artful plan in his brain.
Ellsworth executed the painting. The author used epithets (a god-awful smudge; a loud, raucous splash on the wall) and simile (which resembled a gob of salad dressing thrown violently up against the side of a house) to give a real appraisal of the painting and show the absurd accepting this picture to the gallery. The author used epithet (a lifetime dream of every mature artist was a Lathrop prize) and inversion (upon this distinguished group Ellsworth was going to foist his painting) to emphasize the importance of this exhibition, its scale and prestigious.
Ellsworth organized everything before. This fact that Koppel, Swain and the doctor were in the room when the envelope was brought was not a chance. He anticipated this result (He was unusually cheerful during the exhibition). He proved them that art is nothing and everything can be bought for money. All treatment and the good work, that the doctor has accomplished, were spoilt. Ellsworth managed to wind everybody round his finger. Why it has happened?
From the point of view of syntax the text includes a lot of short and elliptical sentences (Not bad). All these language means reveal the author’s manner, his style of writing. He renders his feeling and thoughts such way and therefore reaches his desired effect. It is worth adding that the author was a great cartoonist. It impacts on his style of writing. He paid attention on details and traits of characters.