Study Guide

The Artist Scene 32

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Scene 32

Scene 32

  • George returns to his modest home, which took a beating in the fire. There's debris everywhere and streaks of ash on the walls.
  • Peppy runs around, yelling for Clifton.
  • He's nowhere to be found, so she jumps in the car and begins to drive it herself.
  • She's either really upset or a horrible driver, because she's swerving all over the road.
  • George sits at his table, wringing his hands. He's thinking about people speaking incomprehensibly (we know this because the images of these moving mouths are superimposed just above his head, where a thought bubble would be).
  • George clasps his hands over his mouth, closes his eyes and cries. The mouths begin to laugh at him.
  • Now his hands are covering his ears. This seems familiar…
  • Peppy meanwhile careens through the streets, almost causing a whole bunch of accidents.
  • George retrieves a box from a shelf in his kitchen. He looks tormented.
  • Inside the box is a gun.
  • His dog barks and pulls on George's pant leg. It's as if he's pleading with him not to use the gun.
  • George picks up the revolver and puts it in his mouth. The edges of the screen have gone all blurry.
  • "BANG!" (That's the intertitle talking)
  • But it's just the sound of Peppy's car, crashing into the tree outside George's house. (The thing about intertitles is they're ambiguous enough to provide suspense.)
  • The crash startles George and he gets up in time to come face to face with Peppy as she runs in through his door. Seeing George with the gun, and the wreckage of his house, she begins to sob.
  • "I feel so bad," she says. "I only wanted to help you, take care of you…"
  • George looks ashamed and then tries to laugh it off. Weird idea, George.
  • The gun goes off by accident and the dog plays dead.
  • George and Peppy both begin to laugh, almost hysterically, as if to cope with the horrible fact that George almost just killed himself.
  • They hug passionately.
  • "If only you would let me help you," Peppy says.
  • George replies that it's impossible, he's "washed up" and no one wants to see him speak.
  • Since the "BANG" of the car crash, there's been no music to accompany the scene; everything has happened in complete silence.
  • Suddenly the music starts up again, a jaunty beat.
  • "There is one thing we could try," says Peppy. "Trust me."

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