The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Wikipedia
I would temper my language, or slip in 'Kavalier and Clay' among other recommendations as if it were just an ordinary mephistolessiveur.info way, its. Discussion Questions: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Joe's creative and professional development and their personal friendship and relationships with others? Did you find the ending to the story satisfying?. Under the name "Sam Clay", Sammy starts writing adventure Meanwhile, Sammy develops a romantic relationship with the.
Tracy's movie-star good looks initially intimidate Sammy, but later they fall in love. When Tracy is cast as The Escapist for the film adaptation, he invites Sammy to move to Hollywood with him, an offer that Clay accepts. But later, when Tracy and Sammy go to a friend's beach house with several other gay couples, the private dinner is raided by the local police as well as two off-duty FBI agents.
All of the men at the party are arrested, except for two who hide under the dinner table, one of whom is Sammy.
The FBI agents use their authority to sexually abuse Sammy and the other man. After this episode, Sammy decides that he can't live with the constant threat of being persecuted and breaks off his relationship with Tracy.
Some time after Joe leaves, Sammy marries Rosa and moves with her to the suburbs, where they raise her son Tommy in what outwardly appears to be a traditional nuclear family. Sammy and Rosa cannot hide all their secrets from Tommy, however, who manages to take private magic lessons in the Empire State Building from Joe for the better part of a year without anyone else's knowledge. Tommy is instrumental in finally reuniting the Kavalier and Clay duo, which works with renewed enthusiasm to find a new creative direction for comics.
Joe moves into Sammy and Rosa's house. Shortly afterwards, Sammy's homosexuality is revealed on public television. This further complicates the attempts of Rosa, Sammy, and Joe to reconstitute a family.
In the end, despite Joe and Rosa's efforts to convince Sammy to stay, he leaves the house in the middle of the night without saying goodbye. The novel's time span roughly mirrors that of the Golden Age of Comics itself, starting from shortly after the debut of Superman and concluding with the Kefauver Senate hearingstwo events often used to demarcate the era.
Rosa Saks — A bohemian artist who becomes Joe's love interest and later Sam's wife. Tracy Bacon — A handsome actor who plays the Escapist and helps Sam come to terms with his sexual identity. He helps add to the theme of escapism, and helps Sammy metaphorically escape out of his body.
George Deasey — Chief editor of Empire Comics. Embodies the wishes of the cousins. Joe came up with her largely on his own after meeting Rosa Saks. Bernard Kornblum — Joe Kavalier's magic and escapology teacher in Prague. Ethel Klayman — Sam Clay's mother.
Thomas Kavalier — Joe Kavalier's younger brother. Whatever has come before, he is undeniably happy with Sammy. He is handsome and charismatic—everything Sammy never thought he could have. Bacon's name is a joke that plays upon the idea of forbidden fruit: He knows famous people all over town, such as Orson Welles and Ed Sullivanbut he is guileless and does not seek fame so much as acceptance.
Bacon knows he is gay and is not ashamed of it, but he cannot convince Sammy to feel the same way about himself. He joins the Air Force and is shot down over the Solomon Islands in Eugene Begelman Eugene Begelman is Tommy's best friend.
Tommy discovers his love of magic when playing with a set of magic tricks belonging to Eugene. Bubbie dies peacefully in her sleep at age ninety-six. Sammy's bravery and pluck are seen in his initial pitch to Anapol and later in how he stands up to Anapol, Ashkenazy, and Deasey to get what he feels he and Joe deserve for their talent.
Some argue that Sammy is Joe's sidekick, but that interpretation does not work. Joe and Sammy's relationship is not that of a mentor and his student or a father and his son. They are fully partners, sharing in the creation of characters, the development of stories, and the negotiation of payment. Despite Sammy's courage in the office, his real struggle is in seeking to accept his homosexuality. Sammy spends most of the novel in denial, even though nearly every other character seems to know he is gay just from meeting him.
Tracy Bacon is Sammy's great love, but Sammy turns his back on that relationship after he is sexually abused by another man. This denial nearly destroys Sammy's spirit; when he and Joe are reunited after twelve years, Joe describes Sammy as haggard. But he is also tough and resilient. When he is publicly outed by Senator Hendrickson, Sammy realizes he has nothing to lose, and he finally buys his ticket to Los Angeles and gets on that westbound train he was supposed to be on with Bacon twelve years earlier.
He takes after Joe in looks and his interest in magic. Tommy successfully schemes to bring Joe back to his family when Joe has lost his way. Although Deasey is management, several times he gives Joe and Sammy hints on how to effectively negotiate their contracts so they will not get short-changed by Anapol and Ashkenazy. He also introduces them to Harkoo. Joe's attack on Ebling's office pushes Ebling over the edge. Ebling decides he is a super-villain named the Saboteur and Joe is the Escapist.
Ebling plants a phony bomb at the Empire Comics office and later tries to blow up Joe and a roomful of guests at a bar mitzvah. People are spared because his incompetence far outweighs his enthusiasm for anti-Semitic activity. To the horror of his family who know he is mentally ill, Ebling is found guilty of terrorism and attempted murder and put away in Sing Sing.
Angered about her brother's imprisonment, she calls the police to raid Love's house after she finds a copy of the Escapist in Sammy's room. Dave is sexually abused by the unnamed FBI agent. Dave is John Pye's lover. Jerry is a comic book illustrator and calls his place Palooka Studios.
He lets Sammy and Joe use their place to work on the first issue of their Escapist comic book. Julie Glovsky Julius Glovsky, called Julie, is a childhood friend of Sammy's and also a comic book illustrator. Julie is the first artist Joe and Sammy hire to help them create the inaugural issue of the Escapist. Marty Gold Marty Gold, Jerry's housemate and an inker for comic books, works with Sammy and Joe on the first issue of the Escapist comic book.
Longman Harkoo Longman Harkoo is Rosa's father and a wealthy surrealist art dealer living in an odd house in Greenwich Village. He renamed himself after he had a reoccurring dream about a Long Man of Harkoo.
Harkoo is cheerful, quirky, and supportive of his daughter and her friends. He is very well-connected and enjoys using his connections to help people. Joe's Grandfather Joe's grandfather is a renowned operatic Czech tenor. He survives the war with Joe's mother until they are both sent to a death camp. Anna Kavalier Anna Kavalier is Joe's mother. She and Joe keep up a faithful communication until he enlists in the navy. She dies in a death camp along with Joe's grandfather.
Emil Kavalier Emil Kavalier, Joe's father, dies from pneumonia less than a year after Joe leaves his family. Joe Kavalier Joe Kavalier is the central character of Chabon's book. The plot follows his life, recounting his late childhood in Prague, his arrival in New York City as a young man, his naval assignment in Antarctica, and eventually his return to his family in New York.
Trained as an escape artist by one of the profession's unsung masters, Joe is incredibly adept at any task he takes on, making him somewhat larger than life. He is also a gifted artist and half of the genius behind the book's popular comic book superhero, the Escapist. Joe works closely with his cousin Sammy to create this superhero, which is inspired in equal parts by the unique backgrounds of these cousins.
Despite Joe's repeated ability to escape and survive, he is incapable of saving even one of his family members from the war in Europe. The loss of his brother Thomas, en route to New York, nearly destroys Joe, but he cannot die, even when he wants to this is repeated again in Antarctica, when he goes to Jotunheim. Joe's great love is Rosa Saks, and their affection for each other is not diminished though time, guilt, shame, and anger must separate them for twelve years.
Joe tries to stay away from Rosa, Sammy, and Tommy after the war out of a misdirected sense of forfeiture, but the night that he at last reads Rosa's letters and learns about the birth of Tommy is a turning point for Joe, who at last stops fighting. Joe arranges to have Thomas transported to New York City on a ship carrying Jewish children refugees, but the ship is overcome by a U-boat and a sudden storm and all the children drown.
She thinks Sammy's dream of drawing comic books is ridiculous—even in the midst of his success, she considers it to be ephemeral.
Her love is tough but not meager, and she gladly embraces Joe, Rosa, and even Bacon into her home. Ethel saves most of the money Sammy gives her. She dies of a brain aneurysm in the mids, shortly after retiring to Miami Beach. Samuel Klayman See Sammy Clay Bernhard Kornblum Bernhard Kornblum, a retired performing illusionist who mentors the teenage Joe in escape tricks, helps smuggle Joe out of Prague when Nazi restrictions threaten to trap the boy.
Thereafter Kornblum only appears to Joe in visions, offering advice. He figures out that Tommy was the one who wrote the jumper's letter. James Haworth Love James Love is chairman of the board for Oneonta Mills and instrumental in getting the Escapist on the radio through his sock company's sponsorship.
He invites Bacon and Sammy to his beach house in Pawtaw with a group of other gay men. Klaus Mecklenburg Klaus Mecklenburg, a German geologist stationed at Jotunheim, Antarctica, dies from a gun-shot wound after struggling with Joe for control of the weapon. He is a traveling strong man who survived hardship and imprisonment in Eastern Europe.
After Sammy is afflicted with polio as a child, his father takes him walking to keep his legs strong. Although he does not live at home, he and Ethel love each other. The Molecule dies incrushed beneath a tractor he was attempting to lift. Joe visits him weekly, trying to find a way to get his family out of Prague.
Milde is polite but unhelpful. He is the one who delivers the news to Joe that his father has died. He is a more experienced illustrator and also works on the inaugural issue of the Escapist. Rosa Luxemburg Saks Rosa Saks is salvation and muse. She and Joe fall madly in love in the way young people do. Rosa becomes indispensable to the cousins as she helps them with domestic affairs and with rescuing Thomas Kavalier from Prague.
Rosa also inspires Joe to create the sexy superhero, Luna Moth. When Joe unknowingly leaves Rosa in the lurch, she and Sammy get married, thus saving each other from a world that does not yet accept deviance.
Their marriage of convenience is not at all romantic, but it is not awkward because they have always been close, like siblings. Over time, Rosa and Sammy develop a strong partnership, churning out comic books the way Joe and Sammy did. Although Rosa is not directly responsible for Thomas's death, she feels guilty because of the role she played in placing Thomas on the doomed ship. She names her son after Joe's brother to honor Thomas's memory and possibly to keep a connection with the love of her life, from whom she is separated for twelve years.
When Rosa and Joe are reunited, they easily pick up where they left off, happy and in love. Tommy introduces Joe to him as his magic teacher. Joe Kavalier, trained as an escape artist by a master Ausbrecher has an ability to escape and survive that pushes the limits of reality, even a fictional reality.
In the day-to-day grind, Joe escapes the painful reality of the growing war in Europe by battling Nazis on paper. His more dramatic escapes include the River Moldau, Nazis in Prague, the fountain of the Hotel Trevi, a happy life with Rosa, carbon monoxide poisoning, Antarctica and madness, Sammy and the rest of his family, and finally—the most difficult of all—his self-imposed exile.
Joe is the novel's real-life escapist. Sammy Clay, although much more grounded and practical than his cousin Joe, finds escape from his life in daydreams: Sammy's master feat of escape is from his own homophobia.
After a few happy, clandestine months with his first and only love, Tracey Bacon, Sammy turns his back on romantic love and spends the next thirteen years in proverbial chains.
These chains of shame burden Sammy. When Senator Hendrickson effectively springs the last lock and exposes Sammy's homosexuality in public forum, he is not humiliated but relieved.
Bacon is gone from this world, but Sammy is finally ready to pick up where he left off and move to Hollywood. Escapism is a precarious indulgence—too much and one is beyond rational judgment; too little and one is mired in real world minutia.
Comic books from their inception were understood to offer a fantastical escape, generally geared toward young boys and girls full of hope to change their situation in some way. Joe and Sammy's superhero, the Escapist, is thus a metafictional device for comic books in general. Guilt Guilt is a feeling of responsibility for wrong-doing. Sammy, reserved about spending money after growing up on modest means, feels guilty about indulging in the luxuries he and Joe can afford when they are at the height of their success.
The excess money itself is a physical representation of guilt which must be experienced any time money is spent. Sammy buys a beloved and costly phonograph over which he never stops feeling guilt. Despite his weak legs, he rarely takes a taxi. More devastating is the guilt Sammy feels regarding his homosexuality. In the world of this novel, there is a strong taboo against homosexuality, which makes it even more difficult for Sammy to come to terms with his sexual orientation.
The raid in Pawtaw and sexual abuse at the hands of the FBI agent only serve to justify Sammy's shame. But there is no denying human nature, and Sammy is fortunate to survive Wertham's trial by fire and thus free himself of this crippling guilt. Joe suffers from survivor guilt during the three years he is first living and working in New York City.
For two years he does not even allow himself to have fun or to spend any more money than is necessary. Joe spends all his spare time trying to safely extricate his father, mother, brother, and grandfather from Prague. One by one his immediate family is taken away from him even as he is building a new family in the United States.
He finds love and happiness with Rosa, but his guilt over the accidental death of his brother Thomas drives Joe first to attempt suicide and then to run away from everyone who loves him. Having failed to protect his brother, Joe denies himself comfort and pleasure by leaving Rosa and Sammy. The war eventually ends, but Joe's guilt over abandoning them and fear of rejection obscure the way back to the only family he has left.
It takes Joe ten years and the love of his son to overcome that last, difficult hurdle. The most unusual arrangement occurs when Sammy and Rosa marry to raise Rosa and Joe's son, Tommy, as well as to hide Sammy's homosexuality. In Prague, Joe lives in an extended, or complex, family including his parents, his brother, and his grandfather. In New York City, Joe first lives with Sammy, his aunt Ethel, and his grandmother Bubbie; later Joe and Sammy move into their own apartment and Rosa unofficially lives with them part-time.
When Joe leaves to enlist in the navy, Rosa and Sammy find themselves both in vulnerable situations with only each other to look to for security. What Chabon expresses through these Topics For Further Study Individually or in groups, create a superhero and write a story featuring him or her. Include a weakness along with a superpower, a villain, a secret identity, and sidekick or other supporters.
For extra credit, illustrate your tale. Science has traditionally been important to superheroes and their villains, either as a source of superpower or inventions to aid in fighting or causing crime.
What area of science interests you? For example, biology, nuclear physicsastronomy, chemistry, geology, etc. Dream up an invention or application of technology within your field of interest that would be an aid to a superhero or villain. Create an illustrated poster demonstrating your idea. Research a heroic figure from legend or history. Does this figure fit any of the superhero criteria such as a secret identity, superpowers, and an idealistic mission?
Write a brief report to share with your classmates. One of Rosa's artistic expressions is a dreambook. In her dreambook, Rosa uses collage, illustration, and text to tell the stories she experiences when she is dreaming. Find or make a blank journal and create your own dreambook based on a dream you have had. The Holocaust took a terrible toll of loss and displacement on the groups targeted by the Nazis. Unfortunately, genocide still happens to this day.
Research an incident of genocide that has happened in the recent past, examining why it was carried out and what can be done to stop future genocides. Letter writing was an important form of communication before widespread use of email in the s.
Write a letter by hand not computer to a friend or family member whom you do not see often. Tell the person what is new in your life and any interesting stories that have happened to you. Enclose relevant photographs, drawings, or article clippings. After your teacher has checked that you have completed the assignment, mail your letter.
Joe spends most of a year stationed on Antarctica, monitoring radio waves for the U. Research current political and scientific activity relating to this unusual continent. Also look up information about Antarctica's climate and geography. Which countries have laid claim to portions of Antarctica?
What scientific studies are being conducted there and why? Are there parts of Antarctica that have yet to be explored? How does the size of the land mass today compare to one hundred years ago?
Write an essay about the current importance of Antarctica. Under Judaic law, a boy reaches maturity when he turns thirteen and is made a bar mitzvah "son of the commandment".
Girls are made bat mitzvahs "daughters of the commandment" at twelve years of age. They are then responsible for following and upholding Jewish traditions, which is expressly a religious aspect of Judaism. Secular or ethnic Jews do not always choose to become a bar or bat mitzvah. What other rites of passage do you know? What time of life do they typically occur? Are they cultural, religious, or related to some other aspect of life? What are the components of the ritual?
What are the conferred rewards and responsibilities? Prepare a presentation for your class using PowerPoint, slides, overheads, or other visual aids. Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and Joe's childhood home. What foods are particular to the Czech people? Research authentic Czech recipes, assemble a cookbook to distribute to each student in the class, have everyone select a different recipe to prepare, and then host a Czech food day.
What are your favorite dishes? What flavors are unusual to you? Is there anything you would like to make again? Share your answers with your classmates as you enjoy this new cuisine. Rosa, Joe, and Sammy struggle with this subtly when Joe finally returns to his family. They keep asking each other what they should do now that Joe has returned.
Discussion Questions: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
They are wondering, without vocalizing it, how their unusual family fits together, with Joe as biological father and Sammy as surrogate father to Tommy. Tommy puts it best when, after Joe and Rosa explain that Joe is his real father, he asks them, "Only what about Dad? Joe struggles with the love and identity of his family throughout the novel: Sammy's family identity is both more simple and more complex.
He and his mother, Ethel, have a tough love sort of relationship in which they bicker affectionately almost all the time. In marrying Rosa and raising Tommy, Sammy is both expressing family love and slowly killing himself through the repression of his homosexuality. At the end of the novel, Sammy leaves for Los Angeles to discover a part of himself in both his career and personal life which he has denied for thirteen years.
As his family, Rosa and Joe are sad to see him leave but support Sammy fully in what he feels he needs to do. Style Allusion Allusion occurs when an author refers to people, events, symbols, or stories external to his or her story.
Allusions may be only hinted or implied as the author assumes the reader understands the connection and what it means. Allusions are an economical device, permitting an author to introduce new ideas without a long explanation. Usually comprehension of an allusion is not critical to a basic understanding of a story, but the reader's experience is enhanced if he or she does recognize what the author is trying to say.
Tracey Bacon's name is an allusion to kosher law because he and his love is forbidden to Sammy, a good Jewish boy. Chabon alludes to mythology when he compares Joe's leaving Prague with the legendary Jewish hero Golem.
According to folklore, Golem, a larger-than-life automaton, was sculpted by Rabbi Loew in the sixteenth century from river mud pulled from the banks of the Moldau. Golem was created to protect the Jews of Prague and was awakened when need arose. Sammy Clay's name is an allusion to the Golem; when he is no longer essential at the end of the story, he leaves, having accomplished his task of helping Rosa, Joe, and Tommy. Foreshadowing Foreshadowing occurs when an image or event in a story gives information about what is going to happen later in the text.
Joe and Thomas's near drowning in the River Moldau foreshadows Thomas's death by drowning six years later. Sammy's view of Joe at the top of the fire escape of Jerry's building, with the light slanting down on him out of a grey sky foreshadows the success of the Escapist, whom they create later that day.
Joe's sighting of a man he mistakes for his father at the docking of the Rotterdam foreshadows his father's death. Joe's first attempt to leave New York City foreshadows his later, dramatic departure to the U.
Discussion Questions: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay | Chicago Public Library
Foreshadowing is an important literary device which adds cohesion to the plot and allows the reader to anticipate the future event without knowing exactly when it will happen. The title promises action on an epic level because "Adventures" is plural.
Alliteration makes the title flow neatly off the tongue, adding to its energy and sense of smooth composition. The title introduces, from the front cover, the two main characters of the story, Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. The placement of Joe's last name before Sammy's subtly hints that Joe is a more important than Sammy.
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