Lest our discussion degenerate into an unruly meeting of F.O.T.A., I will agree that anything is possible, and that the parallel between George Walker Bush's character formation and undergraduate career with that of George Amberson Minafer's fictional progress emerges as a highly intriguing interpretation. I bow to Todd Baesen and MartynH for bringing together those disparate elements.
Still, in terms of Booth Tarkington's novel and Orson Welles' movie, Roger Ryan's analysis seems the most convincing.
George Minafer considered himself at least a prince in a small midwestern kingdom. His family and fellow townspeople hoped that going East to school would knock the small town snobbery out of him and achieve for him a certain "come-uppance,", but George did not take readily to assumptions of Eastern superiority. As a result, between the lines of Chapter Four of the novel, one can sense his almost desperate need to regain the throne of his former kingdom.
The Friends of the Ace, so far as I can determine, was primarily a boy's club George was able to found because the Amberson family provided it a room where the organization might meet. Instead of any sinister Yale reference to "The Skull and Bones Society," the F.O.T.A. was just a place where the teenage male upper strata of George's town could gather for a semi-illicit card game, and latterly, perhaps, sneak a bottle of port wine.
For some reason, one of the perennial ambitions of American boys -- perhaps, it's true of boys everywhere over the last two centuries -- is to be a pirate. That profession represents a rebellion against the coming responsibilities of adulthood. And that's what "the skull and crossbones" scrawled in purple ink and soft lead pencil on the frosted glass window of the shabby clubroom signifies.
Yet, I agree, anything is possible.
And so, applying that standard, either to a projected prophetic insight by Welles, or to a post-9/11 interpretation of George Walker Bush's psycho-biography, your interpretation, MartynH and Baesen, makes a lot of sense.
It certainly would help me understand what has been going on!
Last edited by Glenn Anders
on Tue May 06, 2008 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.