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Tennessee Williams - The Last of My Solid Gold Watches

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Englisch LK Hei 6.9.02

1) Read the play (p. 43)
2) The Content of the play "The Last of My Solid Gold Watches"
The story "The Last of My Solid Gold Watches" from Tennessee Williams takes place in a hotel room in a Mississippi Delta town.
The main character of the story is Charlie Colton, a seventy-eigth years old salesman.
The other two characters are Bob Harper, another salesman and a negro porter.
Mr. Charlie, who calls himself an old time war horse, talks to the much younger Bob Harper about
the former time and what has changed in the past 46 years since he started his carreer as one of the legendary Delta Drummers, a group of well known salesmen. He tells Harper about the death of 3 men who played different roles in his life: Gus Hammer, who has been one of the Delta Drummers too, Ole Ben Summer, a former customer and Ole Marblehead Langner.
Suddenly he recognizes that he is maybe the last of the Delta Drummers and he begins to complain that everything has changed to worse since the good old time. The shoe industry is not anymore what it used to be, it's much harder to convince clients and even more harder to get orders. In Charlie's opinion people want to buy style and appeareance instead of quality and comfort. He calls this a revolution. He can't believe why people doesn't treat him, who's been one of the most succesful salesman in the region, like a hero or like a living legend anymore, even Bob Harper doesn't show enough respect for what Charlie tells him. As he feels misunderstood by Harper he forces him to leave him alone. The end of the story is a short conversation between Charlie and the porter where he asks the porter why he thinks that everything has changed and the porter tells him that the people they had passed their livetime with are lying at the graveyard, meaning that both of them are relicts from a former time which ended now.
3) Historical background
4) Charlie's attitude towards the political and economic changes ?
He doesn't say much about his personal attitude towards the political situation in the US at the time.
What he says is, that it doesn't matter for him if the Communists are in the goverment or if the Jews are an influential lobby. He also has no rassistical prejudices.
Charlie has a critical opinion concerning the economic changes. Not even the shoe industry has changed for worse, for example the new products are less qualitive, but also the agriculture uses new, doubtful methods to get more profit.

5) Harpers role in the play
Harper is the younger salesman, he stands for the future and the progress in every sense. Harper isn't very interested in Charlie's problems concerning the many changes through the ages, it rather seems that he can't really understand them.
His role is more passive, he just listens to Charlie's words without really making the effort to show understanding or to buck him up.
In Harpers opinion, Charlie is just an old man who can't get along with the rapidness of what is called the modern lifestyle. Surely he can't even understand why Charlie in his age still tries to stay in the business.
6) Relationship between Charlie and the porter? Changes of behaviour?
Charlie and the porter have both the same problem: they are too old for this modern world. Their relationship is amicable but at the same time there is a distance between the two characters: Charlie arrives at the hotel and sees himself as the great star coming home, the sucessful businessman. He tells the porter that in his opinion he is too old to carry the cases without recognizing that the porter is probably the same age as he is. After his conversation with Harper, the porter is more like an ally to Charlie, because of his age he is able to understand Charlies thoughts and problems. It's the porter that helps Charlie to become a clear view concerning his current situation.
7) Is everything going downhill ?
In my opinion these old people who say that everything is going downhill, are afraid of giving up their old “save things” and aren't open for new things because they have fear that these new things will be worser.
But it also can be that these people are afraid of being forgot by the newer generation and so they don't want to admit new things.
On the other hand the “new” can be good, because often it might be the further developed. I don't think we should judge thing because they are new or old but we should judge things they make sense or not.
8) Value shifts between my and my parents generation
Nowadays the generation of youth isn't interested in politics and economics then our parents generation. They aren't critical as our parents generation.
Eine Zusammenfassung der Geschichte und einige Aufgaben zum Verständnis der Geschichte (827 Wörter)
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Tennessee Williams | The Last of My Solid Gold Watches | tenessee | american one act plays | wiliams | tenese | zusammenfassung | inhaltsangabe | summary | summarization | content | plot | outline | Historical background | Charlie's attitude towards the political and economic changes | Harpers role in the play | Relationship | downhill | Value shifts between my and my parents generation
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