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Transients in Arcadia

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Kimmie Chan

on 21 December 2014

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Transcript of Transients in Arcadia

Transients in Arcadia
Mamie Siviter or Madame Beaumont
Characters
Setting
Plot Line
Point of View
The point of view used in the story is third person limited. The reader must infer for the main characters’ intentions because they are not revealed in the story. Everything the audience understands about the main characters is based on the opinions of the other hotel guests. Since, the plot twist of Mamie and James’ fabricated personas are incredibly important, the point of view assists the story. Third person limited is effective in providing a surprise element to the plot. Moreover, this perceptive is crucial for understanding the theme. If the story was in another point of view, the reader would know about Madame Beaumont’s social statuses from the beginning, and would be inclined to believe that the story is illuminating that money can buy happiness. However, through the revelation of the characters’ identities, the readers would be able to easily compare their personalities before and after the confession. Personally, I believe this point of view was a great choice because it creates mystery and surprise. If the author chose first person or third person omnipresent, the story would boring and straight to the point because there would be no plot twist.
This short story takes place in a beautiful hotel in New York City. Hotel Lotus is a “hotel on Broadway that has escaped discovery by the summer-resort promoters,” illuminating that this place is exclusive and is a protected get-away (Henry 1). O. Henry depicts the setting to be dream- like, with “[the] ceiling [painted] in water colors”, “[home-made] breezes”, and the “noise of a waterfall” (Henry 1,1,1). Moreover, the tranquil and calming hotel juxtaposes with the lively city below. Therefore, I believe the hotel is symbolic of the contrasting social classes. The Hotel Lotus is described as if it is in a completely different world compared to New York; similarly, the wealthy are segregated from the poor. The connoisseurs of the hotel are “fearful lest their retreat be discovered and invaded,” illuminating the exclusiveness of this utopia (Henry 1). This quote also reveals the instability of their bliss because the tranquility at Hotel Lotus is an illusion. The guests attempt to seek happiness and contentment but beneath their false comfort, they are worried and stressed out. The title of the short story is also reflective of my opinion because transients describe a person who is temporary staying at a location and arcadia is a place that provides peace.
Symbolism and Irony
The protagonist


Round and dynamic
Mamie Siviter or Madame Beaumont
My final inference of Madame Beaumont contrasts with my initial perception of her character. Madame Beaumont reveals to Mr. Farrington that she is actually Mamie Siviter and her persona is fictitious. Mamie is poor working class woman because she "[saved] up out of [her] wages for a year just for this vacation" and bought her dress on an installment plan (Henry 4). Moreover, the protagonist is honest and brave for abandoning her fabricated image so that Mr. Farrington will know the truth about her. Ultimately, I believe Mamie is content and happy because she is in love with Mr. Farrington and they have a date planned out.
Madame Beaumonts' influence to the plot of the story
Mamie Siviter or Madame Beaumont
James McManus or Harold Farrington
Round and dynamic
James McManus or Harold
Farrington
My initial inference of Harold Farrington is that he is a stereotypical rich man that stays that the Hotel Lotus. Like Madame Beaumont, I inferred that he is rich because he is a guest of the Hotel Lotus. He keeps to himself and he“[is] quietly in the mode”; therefore, he is similar to the other connoisseurs at the hotel because everyone is terrified of interruptions in their peace (Henry 2). Moreover, he is well mannered and has nice clothing. Also, he has an “expression that of a poised and sophisticated man of the world” (Henry 2). Thus, I can conclude that he is an elegant specimen of the elite.
James McManus or Harold Farrington
Mr. Farrington's influence to the
plot of the story
My initial inference of Madame Beaumont is that she is the epitome of an elite citizen. She is portrayed to be a wealthy person because she is staying at the exclusive Hotel Lotus where the hotel guests are mainly connoisseurs seeking happiness. This cosmopolitan woman “possesse[s] the fine air of the elite,” and she is referred to be “the final touch of feminine exclusiveness and beauty that rendered the entourage perfect,” by the other guests (Henry 1). Therefore one can infer that she is elegant and beautiful.Lastly, she is incredibly likeable because the other guests and hotel servants view her as the perfect guest and the bell boys fight over helping her.
Setting
Additionally, the setting was incredibly descriptive to me as a reader. The figurative language allowed me to understand the true beauty of the hotel and atmosphere that the uninviting guests provide. However, this setting is not relatable because the author depicts it to be otherworldly and incredibly beautiful. The Hotel Lotus is meant to be reserved only for the upper class; therefore, it is not relatable to me. On the other hand, I do understand the appeal and the need to stay at an expensive place that exudes peace and simplicity because of the stress I experience sometimes.
On the other hand, my final interpretation of Harold Farrington’s character differs from my initial opinion. This hotel guest reveals his real identity after Mamie confesses to be poor. Similar to the protagonist, he belongs in the middle class and he is seeking for happiness in the Hotel Lotus. Mr. Farrington’s actual name is James McManus and he works as a collector. Moreover, he listens to Madame Beaumont’s confession “with an impassive countenance,” proving he is not a judgmental person (Henry 4). Therefore, he is also honest for admitting his true social class. I can also conclude that he is happy because he set up a date with a girl he likes, Mamie.
Symbolism
A prominent symbol in this short story is the Hotel Lotus. This hotel is symbolic of paradise and the contrast between social classes. This haven is paradisiacal because it is depicted to be an “oasis in the July desert of Manhattan,” meaning it provides an escape from stress and negativity for the guests (Henry 1). The upper social class is also represented by the hotel because only the elite can afford to stay in this luxurious hotel. Therefore, the lifestyles between the lower class and the elites are enhanced because of the hotel’s splendor and how Madame Beaumont and Mr. Farrington saved up for a long period to be able to afford the vacation.
Importance of the Symbol
The Hotel Lotus symbol is important because the story illuminates that money and social classes do not define happiness. Therefore, O. Henry broke down the misconception that only money can buy happiness. The guests spend a fortune to stay at the hotel; however, they cannot enjoy themselves because they are worried about their haven being discovered by low class citizens or “restless pleasure-seekers” (Henry 1). Moreover, the peaceful ambiance in the Hotel Lotus is fabricated through the décor and interior design, which is symbolic of the hotel guests’ false happiness. The hotel “ceiling is painted in water colors” to emulate the sky, there are elevator with brass handles to allow the guests to “glide dreamily upward” and there are synthetic breezes to provide the ultimate experience to the tenants (Henry 1,1). The name of the hotel is also important because the lotus flower grows in muddy water. Therefore, the lotus flower is symbolic of rebirth and enlightenment. At this hotel, Mr. Farrington and Madame Beaumont become enlightened because they discovered that riches does not equate to bliss or peace.
Symbolism
Clothing is symbolic of status because people quickly make assumptions based on appearance in the story. Madame Beaumont and Mr. Farrington are swiftly overlooked because they wore nice clothing and remained quiet during their stay. Madame Beaumont receives the most attention when she is wearing her dress. Her attire is so elegant that it would remind one of Parisian aristocrats and the dress so beautiful that it is “beyond the guess of the scribe” (Henry 2). The dress aided her in her disguise to be a wealthy cosmopolitan. Therefore, the clothing is symbolic of social classes because her real identity would be revealed if Mamie did not have the dress.

Importance of the Symbol
The clothing as a symbol is significant because the characters in the short story believe that appearances and social classes are important for contentment. How a person dresses is commonly an indication of their status. Therefore, Madame Beaumont and Mr. Farrington are accepted in the society of the Hotel Lotus because their appearances provided them with “the fine air of the elite” (Henry 1). If the couple were not well dressed, they would be ostracized by the other hotel guests and probably forced to leave. Thus, clothing is a crucial symbol because it has the power to disguise one as a higher class citizen.
Irony
There are many examples of irony in “Transients in Arcadia”. The prominent type of irony is situational irony because the main characters are not who the reader expects them to be. The audience is under the impression that Madame Beaumont is rich because “[her] habits were consonant with the customs of the discriminating patrons of the Hotel Lotus” (Henry 1). Madame Beaumont is depicted to be elegant and a superb guest. Additionally, the other hotel guests believe Madame is a sophisticated cosmopolitan woman as well. However, Madame Beaumont saved up all of her earnings for a year to be able to afford this trip because she is poor. Moreover, there is irony in how people perceive Mamie Siviter, which is Beaumont’s actual name, to be “thoughtful” because she wears the same dress every night (Henry 3). However, the reason Mamie reuses the dress is because she cannot afford to buy beautiful clothing and she is still paying for the dress on an installment plan. This situation leads to another occurrence of irony present in the story. Mr. Harold Farrington is the only person that Madame Beaumont connects with in the story. Similarly, both Mr. Farrington and Madame Beaumont are working class citizens that are disguised as rich elites. On the last day of their vacation, Mamie reveals to Mr. Farrington her true identity and that her dress is actually on a payment plan. The resulting event is ironic because Mr. Farrington is Mamie’s collector for the dress and he works at O'Dowd & Levinsky. The last example of irony is the location of Hotel Lotus. This hotel is located on Broadway in New York. Broadway is one of the busiest streets in New York so it is ironic because one would expect it to be widely known and discovered by many tourists. Therefore, this story primarily demonstrates that appearances and personalities can be deceiving.
Exposition
The short story takes place in a hotel called Hotel Lotus. This is a secretive place of peace and tranquility in the midst of a lively and busy city. The people that visit this hotel are wealthy citizens looking for an escape. The protagonist, Madame Beaumont, is depicted to be an excellent guest among other cosmopolitan connoisseurs staying at the Hotel Lotus. Soon after, Mr. Farrington checks into the hotel and he described as wealthy man as well.
Inciting Incident
The plot of the story is set into motion when the two characters encounter. Madame Beaumont and Mr. Farrington meet each other when she drops her handkerchief and he picks it up.
Rising Action
The story builds up as the two characters become acquainted with each other. Madame Beaumont and Mr. Farrington sit on the balcony as they converse with each other. They discuss their desire to escape from their lives and their dreams of going to Europe. Moreover, they connect over a shared sense of despair because their vacation is ending.
Climax
The major turning point of the story is when Madame Beaumont reveals to Mr. Farrington that her persona is fabricated on their last night at the hotel. Her real name is Mamie Siviter and she is a working class woman. Mamie saved up for a year from her eight dollars salary to afford this vacation. Moreover, her beautiful dress still is being paid out on an installment plan. Lastly, she confesses that she likes Mr. Farrington.
Falling Action
In response to Mamie's confession, Mr. Farrington reveals that he has been lying about his identity as well. He admits that he is a middle class man named James McManus. Moreover, James works at O'Dowd & Levinsky and he is her collector for her dress.
Conclusion
The story concludes with the two characters making plans for the future before leaving the hotel. James asks Mamie to go out on a date to Coney Island Saturday night on a boat. As they part ways, James tells Mamie to forget about Harold Farrington and their false identities.
Madame Beaumont is the protagonist of the story and she is crucial to the plot of the story. The internal conflict is created because of this character. Madame’s desire to be happy drives the plot of story. Without her, the tone and setting would be different because it would not have her air of elegance and beauty. Moreover, the climax occurs when she reveals her identity. She also illuminates the theme of the story because she displays that happiness is not found through a wealthy lifestyle. Additionally, she allows Mr. Farrington to understand that he can be satisfied without his false identity through being honest with him. Thus, the story would be incredibly bland without Madame because the other guests believe they are blissfully content with the Hotel Lotus.
Mr. Farrington is an important part of the plot as well. He sets the story into motion when he meets Madame through picking up her handkerchief. Without Mr. Farrington, Madame Beaumont would remain ignorant like the other hotel guests. She would believe that she is content from her vacation at the Hotel Lotus. Therefore, his confession of his false identity helps the protagonist realize that happiness has nothing to do with wealth.
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