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The Godfather | Book 2, Chapter 13 | Summary

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Summary

Book 2, Chapter 13 of The Godfather provides further insights into Johnny Fontaine's activities. Johnny makes a record with Nino Valenti, which goes pretty well. Then, Johnny invites Nino to the Hollywood Movie Star Lonely Hearts Club, where fading female stars come for sexual encounters. Johnny entices Nino to come by telling him that his favorite actress, Deanna Dunn, will be attending. At the party, Nino meets Dunn and has sex with her, but isn't impressed by her calloused attitude. As a result, he insults her. Johnny chastises Nino, saying that actresses like Dunn have pull in Hollywood and could help his career. Johnny agrees to leave Nino's personal life alone as long as he sings for him.

Johnny hears about Don Vito Corleone being shot. Because of this incident, the Don will only be able to finance one of Johnny's pictures. Johnny figures the Don will no longer have enough influence to get him an Academy Award. Soon Johnny meets with a union representative who wants a bribe of $50,000 to prevent him from causing union troubles with Johnny's movie. Johnny calls Tom Hagen and tells him about this. A few days later, the union rep is shot to death.

Johnny invites Nino to the Academy Awards as moral support because he expects to lose. However, Johnny wins the Academy Award for best actor. At a wild Oscar party, Nino stays sober to look out for Johnny who has gotten very drunk and is having sex with various women. To prevent Johnny from making a spectacle of himself, Nino carries him out of the party.

Analysis

Book 2, Chapters 12 and 13 move away from the main thrust of the novel, namely the Corleone saga. Instead, these chapters focus on the exploits of Johnny Fontaine in Los Angeles. As a result, the main themes introduced in Book 1 are developed in a very limited way. Puzo touches on the theme of loyalty when Johnny learns about the Don being shot. Because of his loyalty for the Don, Johnny wants to visit him in the hospital. But Johnny is told not to do this because it could cause bad publicity for him. Despite the attack on the Don, the Corleones show their loyalty to Johnny by killing a union rep who was causing trouble for the actor. In addition, Johnny shows his loyalty to Nino by bringing him to Hollywood and recording a record with him. However, this loyalty has a shallowness to it. Johnny invited Nino to Hollywood only because he knows doing this would please the Don. So Johnny's loyalty to the Don and fear of angering him cause him to be loyal to Nino. Without the Don's influence, Johnny would have left Nino in New York driving a truck.

Puzo shows the theme of power and greed mainly on its influence in Hollywood, not on the Corleones. Because of their thirst for power and greed, famous actresses have become hardened and haughty. These actresses are desensitized to love. As a result, they come to a lonely hearts club, where they have casual sex with the men who attend. The author also shows the effect of power and greed with the wild Oscar party, where famous stars get drunk, have casual sex, and make spectacles of themselves. Puzo uses the symbols of human beauty and human ugliness to emphasize the theme of power and greed. The actresses who have reached their thirties have a fading beauty, but underneath show a hard, grasping ugliness.

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