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Lynette Abel


Aesthetic Realism Class Report 

 Part 2

Commented Mr. Siegel, "While Mrs. Boyle is kind hearted, she does have a tongue.   Her linguistic powers in the field of excoriation and invective are quite good."    She says of her husband and his buddy, Joxer Daly:

There'll never be any good got out o' him so long as he goes with that shoulder shruggin' Joxer. I killin' meself workin', an' he sthruttin' about from mornin' till night like a paycock! 
This is "the first time 'shoulder shruggin' has been used as an expletive" Mr. Siegel pointed out.  And he continued, “As Aesthetic Realism sees it anyone given to excessive 'shoulder shruggin' has already made up his mind that the world is not too interesting and you can't expect too much from it,”  As the scene continues Boyle and Joxer return home and Mr. Siegel read the following:
 […Captain Boyle is singing in a deep, sonorous, self  honouring voice.]
 The Captain.   Sweet Spirit, hear me prayer!
 Hear…oh…hear…me prayer…hear oh, hear…Oh, he…ar…oh,he…ar…me… pray…er!
 Joxer.   Ah, that's a darlin' song, a daaarlin' song!
 Mr. Siegel commented "It seems Joxer has two tendencies, he shrugs his shoulders and he wants to like things very much with that word "daarlin."

     Captain Boyle finds out that Jerry Devine, a young labor leader, who cares for Mary, has been looking for him, to tell him about a job he might get, and O'Casey has the following:

Boyle.   (Suddenly catching his thigh) U ugh, I'm afther getting' a terrible twinge in me right leg!
Mrs. Boyle.   Oh, it won't be very long now till it travels into your left wan.
"This is part of the cruelty in comedy," Mr. Siegel said.   As he read O'Casey's lines, often in a wonderful Irish brogue, and commented, on them with such depth, humor and feeling--showing how the comic and tragic are one  we laughed and at the same time felt tearful.   We saw, at the same moment the petty, the awry, the ridiculous in people, and the suffering they have endured from an unjust economic system.

       Towards the end of Act I, the Boyles learn a distant relative has died.    It seems there is a will and that Jack Boyle is entitled to a large inheritance.    However, this will, the Boyles learn later, does not exist.  It was invented by a man named Charles Bentham because of his interest in Mary.   But at this point Mrs. Boyle, very excited, tells her husband to go take off his work clothes  his "moleskin trousers" "an' put on a collar an' tie" because a visitor is coming and he has great news.    Mr. Bentham enters with Mary. As Mr. Siegel read these lines I felt tragedy and comedy as one thing:

Mrs. Boyle.   An' to think of you knowin' Mary, an' she knowin' the news you had for us, an' wouldn't let on; but it's all the more welcome now, for we were on our last lap!  Voice of Johnny inside.   What are you kickin' up all the racket for?   Boyle (roughly). I'm takin' off me moleskin trousers!
"That is one of the metrical lines" commented Mr. Siegel. "It's as good a line as any for studying meter.”  “I’m takin’ off me moleskin trousers!”  As he discussed the words, the stage directions of this play, Mr. Siegel showed one of the most hopeful things: that two aspects of reality people have seen as painfully, utterly apart  the comic and tragic  can make sense, are in a deep relation, an aesthetic relation.  In the discussion following this lecture, Ellen Reiss commented on the value of what Mr. Siegel was showing, and what she said represents what I felt hearing this talk:
I do feel this is one of the kindest things in the world. ... How Aesthetic Realism has you like the world is technically what we were experiencing  we were seeing, hearing, feeling these opposites as one thing.
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