Thursday, February 13, 2014

Goodbye Columbus Chapter 5

"When's the last time you lifted a finger to help around here?" "Im not a slave... Im a daughter." "You ought to learn what a day's work means.... You're lazy, and you think the world owes you a living." (64-65)

"Money is a waste for her. She doesn't even know how to enjoy it. She still thinks we live in Newark." (26)
This parallel shows the moms view of Brenda's behavior and lifestyle. Since both Brenda's parents grew with nothing and worked their way up to success, they want to teach and raise Brenda in the same lifestyle. Brenda believes that her mom is always jealous of her, but in reality, she doesn't want Brenda to have the behavior where she is able to get whatever she wants due to her parents wealth. This is why Brenda's mom always complains when Brenda buys too expensive clothing or feels entitled to money. This is seen when Mrs. Patimkin sates,"You ought to learn what a day's work means... You're lazy, and you think the world owes you a living." This quote parallels when Brenda says her mom doesn't know how to enjoy money. The mom, again, wants to teach Brenda the reality of the world past Short hills and show her a real life style that isn't surrounded by wealth.

"And my father's taking Ron in the business-- but he's going to have to start at two hundred a week and then work himself up. That'll take till October."
"I thought he was going to be a gym teacher." " He was. But now he has responsibilities." (61)
This shows how the people of Short Hills and other wealthy and prosperous neighborhoods encourage and almost force their children's choices and paths in life. In the beginning, Ron wanted to be a gym teacher, a job he loved. However, by the end, Mr. Patimkin encouraged and showed Ron into the way of Business. This is because a gym teacher or librarian is seen as an unsuccessful job in the view of the Patimkens and other rich families. This is why Brenda states that he "was going to be a gym teacher,, but now had responsibilities. This is a contrasting decision and view of Ron because of the influence of his parents.

1. Three Hundred Dollar Bills
2. Old Furniture
3. Newark
4. Natives
I think the three hundred dollar bills are very significant in this chapter. This shows Brenda's lifestyle and opinion on money. Brenda has always gotten whatever she has wanted and because of it, does not have a clear view of the working world. Brenda does not appreciate money and is willing to rip up three hundred dollars in order to rebel against her mother when she tells Brenda that "she does not appreciate money or work. Instead of Brenda accepting the truth, she chooses to lash out and blame her mother. This happen many times in Brenda and her families relationships as well as Neils. Whenever Brenda does not get what she wants, she blames the other person and uses the excuse of "being nasty." In reality this is because of Brenda and how she has been influenced by money.

Social Class-
A storeroom. Of our old furniture. From Newark." (67)
"I wanted to find it and tear it up in little pieces and put the goddamn pieces in her purse! If it was there, I swear it, I would have done it!" (69)
We see Social class in this chapter when we see the Patimken's old furniture from Newark locked in a dusty old room. I think its interesting that the Patimkens choose to keep there old furniture from Newark. It shows a part of their life they do not want to give up. This is why Brenda always says, "her mom still thinks were in Newark." I also think the furniture shows the Patimkens heritage and past life. In the beginning, Mr. Patimken came from the poor working class. He became successful because of his hard work and devotion to his job. The old furniture gives memories and shows Mr. Patimken of not only his past life, but his hard work in order to create "the American dream" for his family. It's also important that Roth included the old furniture to show that the Patimkens are unable to give up there life in Newark. This is why the parents have a clear view of the working world and money unlike Brenda who grew up a free lifestyle . This contrast is seen when Brenda talks about ripping up three hundred dollar bills in order to prove a point to her mother.

1 comment:

  1. Talk vs. action seems important here - and throughout the book