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Prodigal Son Hoffman
Terms in this set (211)
Mr. Schmitt: Hi, Alan.
What are you doing up there, Carl? Is there a mouse?
What you doing on the chair?
The clock stopped. It has to be wound every eight days. I always forget until I hear the silence.
My clock has to be wound every day. Keeps me on my toes. You have a minute?
Sure. I was just reading the paper you left in my box. Jim Quinn's opus about the Nazi's.
Oh good. I wanted you to have that as background.
He has an unusual conscience. For a boy.
He's an overheated adolescent who likes to get a rise out of people.
He sounds like he wants to dig Hitler up and kill him again.
He writes very well.
He does. But I've heard from Rooney that he's failing chemistry.
Well, he's acing English.
That's his natural strength. Real discipline is overcoming your weak suit.
What's on your mind?
Him. Have you seen his sweatshirt?
He's wearing a sweatshirt that says PRAY FOR WAR in big letters.
Really? No, I hadn't seen it.
It offends me a bit but it makes Charly Ahern ashen, absolutely ashen. Can you imagine? PRAY FOR WAR
Well, Charly was raised a Quaker.
You don't have to be a Quaker to find PRAY FOR WAR offensive, Carl.
They make sweatshirts that say such things?
It's homemade. His brother gave it to him.
His brother who's in Vietnam?
Exactly. He's a Marine. It's his sweatshirt from when he was in combat training.
Have you said anything?
Ordinarily I would have.
Jim is from such a different background.
Where he comes from...
The war is viewed as patriotic.
You still teach Wilfred Owen, e.e. cummings?
Johnny Got His Gun, All Quiet on the Western Front?
...But you're the head of our English Department and I wonder if you stack the deck.
I can't teach if I don't believe what I'm teaching.
There were a lot of reasons why I took James Quinn on. One reason was we don't have another boy like him. He's working class.
He could be so much more than that.
Nothing wrong with a blue-collar background.
Of course not.
He's entitles to wear the sweatshirt.
He's here to be educated. Those attitudes will hold him back.
With certain people, perhaps.
It's condescending to leave him in ignorance.
He's not a Neanderthal by disposition.
It's his brothers shirt. Who's risking his life for his country.
It's a ridiculous war fought for reasons that make no sense.
Do you think we should be in Vietnam?
People get worked up about politics Alan. You're no exception. You're convinced of something and there's no point in my trying to talk you out of it.
You're in favor of the war?
....If we give these boys solid values, they will apply those values in ways we can't foresee and don't need to control.
...I'm falling behind in my syllabus. Who knew ancestor worship was so fascinating?
...But the more I explain it, the more I'm concerned I may inadvertently be making a convert.
I had to remind him he's a Catholic.
I wonder what that's about?
I don't know. Kids get their enthusiasms.
He's hit a couple of boys.
I know. They teased him about his accent. I doubt they will again. I want you to watch out for him.
I don't mind.
He's the most interesting mess we have this year.
He looks up to you.
Let's keep it that way. My chief weapon as headmaster is to stay mysterious. I can't be his friend, but you can.
I'd be delighted.
But refrain from brainwashing.
You're good with the troubled ones.
Sometimes. I wish I'd been able to help Niccolo.
Niccolo's problems were beyond all of us. He's better off with his family.
Thank God he didn't know where his artery was.
Well, he did fail biology.
Yes. As far as Jim goes, let him find his way. I'm hopeful he will. If he needs to be disciplined, I'm here.
Have you seen this movie, The birds?
It was on TV last night. Scared the stuffing out of me.
I haven't seen it.
....Louise had to explain to me there were no birds in the house.
Where do they come up with these ideas?
...I don't like to look at a boy an think of an animal. It unsettled me.
Hendricks is a bit of a numbskull.
...What good would Heaven be without her?
What a wonderful thing, to feel like that about someone.
Yes. I wish it on you.
Some day perhaps.
For the sake of balance, have you considered teaching a pro-war book?
End of Jim and Austin scene
Everybody up and everybody outside! Louie, wake him up. Throw on a coat. Sorry to hustle you out of your rooms, gang, but there was no way around it. Someone at Carriage House has been stealing Connell's record albums and we have to put a stop to it. Two seniors will enter each of your rooms and do a search. There's nothing to worry about unless you're the thief. If anyone wants to tell me something, now's the time. Once the student responsible has been exposed, there's nothing I can do for you. This shouldn't take more than half an hour. Anyone who needs to can approach me during that time. Again, I'm sorry you have to go through this.
Jim: I keep thinking about that thing Heraclitus said.
Which thing is that? "You can't step into the same river twice"?
No. "Character is destiny."
That is pithy, but is it true?
I think so. They called him Heraclitus the Weeping Philosopher.
What was he weeping about?
He didn't like people very much.
I can understand that, but...I like people.
You sure you want to do that?
I took my hand off it.
There goes your rook. Did you have a chance to read Phaedrus?
....Yeah it's almost over my head, but Socrates was incredible.
He wasn't afraid of anything. I couldn't drink poison.
He had the courage of his convictions.
Right. In a way, I don't get it. All he had to do was say what they wanted and everything would've been okay.
But because of his personality, he couldn't.
I wouldn't put it that way.
I wish Socrates didn't die like that.
It was kind of beautiful.
I wish he died after eating spaghetti or something.
I like spaghetti.
Socrates should not have died eating spaghetti.
I mean, he was a suicide.
Yes, he was. Same as Thomas More.
Thomas More was not a suicide. He had his head chopped off. He was a martyr.
But what does that mean? He made the king kill him. Jesus was a suicide, too, really.
Egad! Jesus was not a suicide.
Yes, he was.
He was crucified.
Because he wouldn't play the game and lie about what he believed.
"Thou shalt not lie" isn't even one of the ten commandments.
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
Nobody was asking Jesus to rat out his neighbor, just back off the king of the Jews stuff.
Jesus was not a suicide.
...Why even give the truth to second rate people who don't deserve it?
We all deserve the truth.
Because it's important that a hero lead the way.
....Jesus just handed them his sword and said, "Kill me."
For heaven's sake, Jim, whatever you do, don't say something like that about Jesus Christ in front of Mr. Schmitt.
He won't appreciate it. If you want to talk about your philosophy of heroism, do yourself a favor and confine it to Socrates.
Socrates had some ideas I don't even know what to think of them.
He says we should talk about things because it makes us remember stuff we were born knowing, but forgot. Do you believe that?
I don't know.
Socrates prepared for death his whole life. That's why he was good at it.
Do you do that?
I don't. No, I do actually. I'm always facing the Nazis. And if I tell them the truth, they'll kill me.
So what do you do?
...And I think: "Am I going to tell them the truth and be destroyed?"
You have the most remarkable mind.
It's a little scary.
Are you bullshitting me?
Maybe. So. Do you know what Phaedrus is really about.
You bastard. Good one. Socrates is trying to seduce Phaedrus with the beauty of his thoughts.
You got that?
It's pretty amusing when you read it that way.
There goes your queen.
Do you want to concede?
What are you going to do on summer vacation?
I got a job.
Good for you. Doing what?
With my dad. I want to apply to Harvard.
It's Carl Schmitt's alma mater. he only submits, tops, two boys for Harvard each year, so they'll take our applications seriously, and you just don't have those grades.
I thought you thought I might have a chance.
It's not up to me. I think you're extraordinary, but Harvard is not in the cards. You just don't have the grade point, Jim.
I guess. There's no law against me filling out the application though.
Not a good idea. Have faith that I know whereof I speak. try for NYU.
The truth is: Mr. Schmitt has reservations about you.
What do you mean?
Let's leave it at that.
How can I leave it at that?
He suspects that you were the thief at Carriage House.
I tried to dissuade him, but that's the story.
It wasn't me.
I believe you. It's just that you were really artificially casual that night.
I was not.
Look, Jim, I think the world of you. People make mistakes. But if there's something weighing on you. For your own good, you might want to unburden yourself.
I wish you didn't put it to me like that.
I think you want to talk.
You won't tell?
I'm on your side.
Okay it was me.
It's okay. It was obvious.
Oh my God yes.
Do people know?
Nobody knows for sure.
What should I do?
Nothing. Connell got his stuff back. Given time, the whole thing will blow over.
You won't tell?
You'll go home this summer, and when you come back as a senior, all this will be forgotten.
You think so?
Yes. You just need to stop screwing up, and go ahead and have a great senior year. Can you do that?
So you think NYU's my best bet?
It's a fine choice.
Do you think you'd have time to help me with the application?
Of course. And I'll write you a wonderful recommendation.
Thank you. I wish I knew Socrates.
He would've liked you.
Mr. Schmitt exits testing scene
Oh God. When did this appear?
After Mr. Schmitt left
What did Mr. Schmitt say?
He said he was thinking of refusing to graduate me.
Did he say you wouldn't graduate?
Jim. You have to behave with perfect rectitude between now and graduation.
Carl is one inch from throwing you out.
I hate him.
He's a good man.
He doesn't make any, you know...He doesn't try to understand anybody.
He looks at me like I'm disgusting.
That's not accurate.
Have you talked with him about me?
What's he say?
He's impressed that Louise likes you.
He values her opinion very highly.
I didn't think she liked me.
No accounting for taste
What are you going to do after you graduate?
If I graduate.
You have to graduate.
You just have to keep your head down for the next nine days. You can do that.
Yeah. What do you think is going to happen to me? I mean, you know, what could I do for a job?
You might become a social thinker, a working class writer on union issues. Something like that. Or a journalist. Crime.
Why not a man of letters?
All right. A man of letters.
Certainly you could be a poet.
You're just saying what I want to hear.
I am not. You can succeed by writing, by going to college.
Come on. I haven't even been accepted anywhere.
Half the class has heard. More than half
You have a very promising future.
Tell me about me. Please.
You don't need me to do that.
Yes, I do
You just feel like you don't know yourself. It's not true.
Please, Alan. Tell me what I am.
Well. You're an insightful reader.
Am I good looking?
Oh, is that what we're doing? Yes, you are goof looking.
....I'm going to be a bum. I feel deformed.
You're very handsome.
In comparison to the other guys here how am I?
If you were being graded on your looks, you'd get an A.
Yes. Doesn't your mother tell you that?
My mother? No. Like what would Lorenzo get?
He'd get a C.
How about Woodruff?
Henry would get a D.
And I'd get an A?
I can't wait to go home.
....Then I'll know. Have I changed since I've been here?
You're more sophisticated.
You mean...what do you mean by that?
Your responses to literature have more depth.
You think they're going to notice that in the Bronx?
Probably. Not directly, but you carry yourself with more confidence.
I need to have changed.
I've got to be out of this part of my life.
Because it's awful.
What's important for you right now is to consciously address your behavior.
What do you mean?
Among other things, your violence.
What do you mean?
You have to stop hitting the freshman.
I just kid around.
They don't see it that way.
Who complained? Fitzmaurice?
You have nine days. Don't drink. Don't smoke. Don't hit anybody. Don't steal anything.
Don't do anything. Make it through. We've worked too hard to blow it now.
Why have you helped me?
I haven't done that much.
Come on. I would've been out the door if it wasn't for you.
You deserve to be saved.
Some kids don't?
Since the day you got here, you've been trying to achieve something. I respect that.
You want to shine.
Shine? I don't want to shine. I want to be great.
I want to be great, I do. I want to be a great man.
Then you will be.
I don't know, but I've got to try. Otherwise, why was I even born.
Everybody doesn't think that way. Many of the boys here are just marking time.
It has nothing to do with money. You're one of the desperate ones.
That doesn't sound good.
Maybe it isn't. Niccolo was like that.
The kid who tried to kill himself?
He was unstable.
Am I unstable?
No. You're strong. Maybe too damn strong. You're an extraordinary person, but guess what? A lot of kids are extraordinary and go absolutely nowhere. They take and take and never learn that life is a two-way street.
Are you starting to hate me, too?
No, but I'm frustrated. You need to wake up.
Your own worth. Your own beauty.
I don't understand.
What do you see that they don't see? Why do you see it and nobody else does?
Because I'm paying attention.
Mr. Schmitt is paying attention! He stares at me like death.
You misread him.
What's he thinking?
Okay. I'm going to tell you something. Something I have no business telling you. Do you know Mr. Schmitt lost a child?
Two years ago, he was plowing the road and he didn't see his little boy there. Carl Schmitt accidentally killed his son.
Jesus Christ! That's horrible
Yes, it is.
So his wife lost her kid?
She looks out the window. You'll see her there from time to time. Just waiting for the child to come home I guess. Trust me. You don't know what Carl Schmitt is thinking when he looks at you. Nobody does. He's a complicated man.
Should you have told me that?
What're you doing?
Don't TOUCH ME
You need to be careful, mister.
Don't you ever dare bark at me that way.
You made me nervous.
That's no excuse to behave like a brute.
I'm not a brute.
"PRAY FOR WAR"
It was my brother's shirt.
But you wore it.
I don't anymore. I've changed.
Well, good. Listen, you are a valuable person, Jim.
Why don't I know that.
I don't know, but you'd better realize it before you throw it all away like you almost did last night, right? Right?
I didn't mean to get drunk.
So you admit it. You got drunk.
Somebody hid a bottle under some rocks, one of the guys I guess, and out of the whole woods, I found it.
And you drank it.
I just did. There it was, you know? I didn't plan it. I feel like all the trouble I get in, I don't plan it. Trouble just finds me.
That's why you have to become aware.
You have power over things, Jim. That bottle of liquor. It has no life, volition of it's own. You're what animates your world. You need to understand that, or you'll just keep feeling helpless and wreaking irresponsible havoc.
I'm sorry I yelled at you.
No, you're not. You just want me on your side. You think everything's coming at you, when what's really happening is everything's coming from you. You're not the devastation. You're the explosion.
How can you be sure?
Because I've gone through it. I've caused a lot of harm in my day.
Be more specific.
No. Good luck.
Is that what happened with Niccolo? Is that why he had to go home?
I think you're upset.
Come on, I've known people like you.
Where? In the Bronx?
Don't lump me in with that crew.
...You run an ice cold game, sir. You're a cold customer.
Fine. You think I'm cold? You haven't seen cold. I'll show you cold.
Mr. Schmitt: The clock stopped.
Louise: Greatness is in the eye of the beholder, Jim.
Greatness is an antiquated concept.
Jim: Everything will wear away but this, my sword.
I don't want you writing about me.
When you're dying, You'll write to me.
I don't feel understood.
Louise: You'd better go.
I will survive many scenes like this.
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