In Will Eisner’s A Life Force, the reader encounters numerous characters living in a tenement in the Bronx in the 1930’s. The characters span from a newly poor young man to a Rabbi with a wife who isn’t quite well in the head.
A character I really liked in the graphic novel was Elton who was a victim of the Crash of 1929. He grew up in a wealthy family and was accustomed to money so he decided to venture out of the family business and find his own path. As soon as his father passed, Elton got rid of the family business and lived just on the stocks until the market crash where he lost his job, money, friends, basically everything in his life. From there he had to move to the Bronx to Dropsie Avenue in a tenement. Elton met Rebecca there, his soon to be wife, and her Jewish Family. Eventually, with support from Rebecca, Elton got a new job, moved up in the ranks, and got Rebecca’s father a business of his own and managed to make good money.
The Great Depression affected everyone and their jobs, economic status. Elton, for example was left without a penny after the business was gone, his neighbor had no jobs to do or was getting paid very little and split the pay with his other neighbor, and other neighbors were getting into communism after being failed by the democracy they trusted.
What I learned from Elton’s relationships with all the other people in the tenement is that they all stick together and help each other out. Living in such close quarters, everyone was always in everyone’s business but that never kept anyone from lending a helping hand when the time came.