Critique for “Bully: An Adventure With Teddy Roosevelt by Jerome Alden” Play
The socio-economic and generational concepts are the major themes presented in Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt mentions the socio-economic divide between the rich and the poor in the play, with the poor working as laborers being exploited by the rich. His arguments about defending workers’ rights during the coal strike of 1902 demonstrate this theme (Alden 1979). Furthermore, he claims that the rich people’s capacity to influence politics is unjust. He goes on to say that by fighting for the impoverished laborers, he is helping to secure the country’s future (Alden 1979). According to the arguments made by Roosevelt, it can be implied that the socio-economic gap was so significant that he had to stand and fight for the laborers to save the country.
The generational bond between family members is the second theme described in Alden’s play. In Roosevelt’s case, his sons and daughter are his pride and joy. In the second act, he expresses his pride frequently, for instance, when he approves of his son Quentin’s grades (Alden 1979). His appreciation shows that he has a strong connection to his son’s performance and general progress in life. Later, he expresses gratitude to his son Kermit for transporting him home after being injured in the Brazilian mission, despite his pleas to leave him behind (Alden 1979. This demonstrates that there is a generational bond between family members. Roosevelt’s children and youth, in general, are crucial to his character development.
Progressive democracy is the leading domestic policy issue important to Roosevelt, as shown in the play. According to him, democracy had to be progressive, and leaders had to fight for it, or it would cease to be a democracy (Alden 1979). He regards President Howard as a weak and indecisive individual whose leadership style was unacceptable (Alden 1979). From this point, it is clear that Roosevelt’s domestic policy entailed fighting for the country’s wellbeing, even if it meant confronting other nations’ leaders. The foreign policy issue mentioned in the play, the Russo-Japanese conflict, seems to be the most crucial issue to Roosevelt (Alden 1979). This is supported by the fact that after losing the election, he took time to reflect on it (Alden 1979). Following the election, Roosevelt views new President Woodrow Wilson as excessively cautious or cowardly for postponing entry into World War (Alden 1979). Even after losing the election, Roosevelt was still concerned about his domestic and foreign policies.
In the play, Roosevelt’s character is depicted as arrogant and selfish. For instance, Alden (1979) records that Roosevelt claimed he did not “care what people thought, but what they ought to think.” Arrogance is shown in the attitude of not caring about other people’s opinions and feeling that he had the right to affect how people viewed circumstances. Further, he claimed that he would do everything in his power to make people think the way they ought to (Alden 1979). The fact that he would coerce people to see issues in his perceived right way demonstrates his selfishness. Despite his arrogance, he acted altruistically in some instances, showing less selfishness. A good example is when he advised the rest of his expedition in Brazil to continue without him when he injured his foot (Alden 1979). He was, at some point, critical of his English language and felt that he should have enhanced its simplification and invested enough time in his projects.
Alden, Jerome. Bully: An Adventure with Teddy Roosevelt. Crown Publishing Group (NY), 1979.