Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Iacob Desideriu illustrations - Dl Goe, Ion Luca Caragiale

Ion Luca Caragiale was  a playwright and a short story writer, among  many others. He is considered one of the greatest Romanian playwrights and a leading representative of local humor.  My personal favorite is his short story Mister Goe. In Mister Goe,  Caragiale  captures a new aspect  of the education received by children in some wealthy families of Romanian society from the late nineteenth century. The main character, Goe, is depicted during his trip to Bucharest in relation to his family and the people around him.

The irony of the writer is self evident  from its title "Mr. Goe", by the contrast created between the image of a primary school boy ("mummy's little darling") and the appellation "Mr.", which illustrates the family's attitude towards the child.  The author expresses his sarcasm  surnaming mister a child who is also rude.

Student with poor performance in school, "young Goe" is taken to Bucharest, during the national holiday as a way to stimulate him pass the class. The three ladies who accompany him and give him this undeserved reward are: maman, grandma and nana Mița.
The boy is wearing a beautiful sailor suit, straw hat with the inscription "Le Formidable". Under the hat ribbon a train ticket can be observed, as "this is how men wear it".

They are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the train on the station platform in the City X. Impatient and accustomed to command and to be obeyed, a frowning  Goe orders the train to arrive sooner. Grandma tries to reassure him, kissing the "little baby" and arranging delighted his hat:

"See how well it suits poor darling the mariner suit?"

All three ladies are in awe with "young Goe's" good looks, although he calls them "stupid" and apostrophes them incorrectly with "marinel, not mariner". In contrast with his poor student results, grandma recognizes with admiration the "culture" of her nephew: "Truth be told! Not everyone has brains like you!" And nana Mița joins in  calling Goe "cute baby, full of learning."
Again a master pictorial stroke from the brush of Iacob Desideriu.

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