Essay, Research Paper: Witch Of Wall Street


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A musical based on the life of America’s first great female financier, Hetty
Green After watching the play, The Witch of Wall Street, and giving it a lot of
thought I have analyzed the questions we were given and decided that just
answering one wouldn’t do the play or the storyline any justice. Therefore I
have decided to run through the play in segments answering all five questions in
the process of doing so. 1- Describe the plot of the play. 2- Describe the
obstacles and opportunities Hetty Green had in the result of her success. 3-
What were the main benefactors and antagonizers. The lifetime accomplishments of
Hetty Green all started at a young and tender age when she would hang around the
docks her father owned, where she was instilled with a certain attitude towards
business. She was quite a tomboy, understanding the lingo of the whalers and
learning the business. She was her fathers pride and joy, quick to numbers,
always giving him the answers he wanted. Her mother, who was an ill and frail
woman, was unhappy that she wasn’t like other girls her age. While her father
blamed her mother for not even being able to produce a son, Hetty, mature and
sensitive for her age continued to only do one thing; be the best in her
father’s eyes. Competitiveness, the need to be successful and the desire to be
only the best reigned her persona. Hetty’s mother warned her daughter that her
father was a shrewd and selfish man. She made sure to tell Hetty that when she
died, the entire business would belong to her, despite her father’s words…
She warned her daughter not to trust anyone, while Hetty would cry to her,
promising to make her happy, be rich and successful and buy her mother a
beautiful big house. After her mother died, Hetty was introduced to the cold
brutality of the world and it was the first notch of trust she lost in her
father. Right after the funeral the lawyer announced that all assets would
belong to Robinson. Hetty protested to her father questioning what would happen
to his promise of Robinson and Daughter? To which her father, aptly - as was his
ability to do, turned the entire scenario around, first slapping her and
throwing a huge guilt trip on her, which made her apologize for not trusting
him… Robinson and Daughter would do just fine in his hands… As Hetty grew
older, watching the docks, little did she realize that her father was scheming
and running the business according to his desire without consulting her. One day
as she was watching the big ships with her father, she noticed something odd and
questioned where they were going… After her father tried to dodge the question
for a little bit by marveling at how pretty and tall she has become, he answered
sheepishly that they were going to be sunk and sold for the war efforts. This
was an investment for himself (as he thought) for after the war. Hetty is struck
by a forceful thought; she can never trust anyone. This part of her growing up
had a major effect on the way she conducted her business. Hetty grew up with a
protective shell, juggling the balls in a way to keep both her parents happy,
having to keep up with her father’s ridiculous expectations. He himself
wasn’t able to keep his word; she lost trust in him at a young age. When Hetty
grew older and attended a school for fine young girls she was quick to realize
that she was an outcast, she had no social skills, she had no interest in the
petty things other girls her age wanted and was on an extremely different
wavelength than the rest of them. This formed her to a greater extent. She was a
tough nut to crack and for one reason – she learned that the best defense
against the world was beating them at their own game. Hetty was still unmarried
at the age of twenty-five. Once again, her father, the cunning shrewd man that
he was, got her to play his game, and set her up to get married to a man named
Mr. Green. He was wealthy, high society and a dashing handsome young man. To her
father this was merely another business deal, which would allow him to die in
peace. As a married woman, Hetty has many responsibilities. She gave birth to
two children, and live with her husband in London. Yet the burning desire to
keep involved in business drove her to the London Stock Exchange where she put
her husband to shame by being the only woman on the floor. She bought and sold,
ruining her husbands’ deals, which he thought would be successful in covering
the debts he accumulated in her name. When Hetty got a letter from a big banker
named Huntington that they were holding her assets un till she would pay off
Green’s bills, that was when she hit a major turning point in her life. She
felt she was cheated by a man again. She swore she would plunge into business
with no one to stop her. She swore by money, determined to pay back Green’s
bills, and invest with the little she had left over and promised sweet revenge.
Her policy became “Money don’t lie, it is a powerful friend”. While all
this was going on Hetty’s son Ned needed treatment for an injured leg. Hetty
was so obsessed with the fact that doctors were just ripping her off, and she
delayed treatment until he needed his foot amputated. The doctor’s comments on
that were “we argued about the bill, she was more concerned about money than
her son’s leg”… As she grew older, she realized the mess she created. Her
son ended up marrying a prostitute, and her daughter has become withdrawn and
shy – an old spinster. Every banker and investor in America feared her, and
they all prayed that her lunch was good as she was know to say the market
depended on that. She grabbed every deal in the making, getting the gold,
leaving a grave for the ones following her to be buried in. She had the power to
pull guns on big bankers, and played around with big banks making deposits and
withdrawing ridiculous amounts of cash randomly, which of course they wouldn’t
have… At the end of her life, Hetty watched her husband die, and on her way
back from the funeral released a press statement saying that when she would come
back from mourning she’d rip the market apart for the fun of it…. Such was
the control she had. 4- If you were Hetty Green what would you have done
differently 4- Do you think she was a success of her working life? What a
powerful and strong person she was! Hetty Green was definitely a success in her
business aspects. To her it was all a game, which she was manipulating. She was
a wise entrepreneur, who made amazing investments and was obviously very
successful. However the way her personality and style were formed was in an
unhealthy way. She was raised with the wrong mindset, but then again perhaps if
she was raised differently this would never have been the outcome of her. She
would be like any other little rich girl, who would have their head buried in
different matters. But somehow this little relationship I have formed with Hetty
says to me, no matter how she would be raised the power inside of Hetty Green
would have erupted at one point and she still would have conquered the JP
Morgan’s, Cisco’, and Huntington’s of those times with her brilliance and
ability to trade. I feel that in some aspects Hetty Green was a failure. Her
children were being raised emotionally by their father, as he was the one taking
care of their young daughter’s new party dresses and she was neglectful of her
son’s health. However at the end of her lifetime Hetty was struck with regret
and strong memories. She questioned herself on the situation of her son’s
health- “what’s the price to set me free, what’s the price of
forgiveness?” She realized that certain things money couldn’t buy… Money
certainly cannot pay off the mess she made within her family. However, the end
of Hetty’s life must have made her happy. Her son ends up being quite happy
with “Miss Harlot” and her forty-year-old daughter gets married to a
sixty-year-old man, who truly cared for her. And Huntington who has no choice at
all, he is in way too deep comes to her for a loan, expecting nothing from the
haughty Hetty, is given to major surprise as she gives him the money saying
“not much of a game, without any players….” No, Hetty wasn’t able to
change everything she had already done, but she was able to change the little
left in her future… She was a success after all, leaving behind a fortune and
setting a lot of important examples in the business world. And I’m sure Hetty
Green died in peace.
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