“Harmonia” Review by JT Jefferson

Dialog is one of the most critical parts in many types of literature; it can be used to move along the plot and can even add necessary detail or imagery to a scene. It is essential in literary works, to show or carry out the storyline in a way that the underlying themes and goals, are observed through action, rather than blatant and extensive explanations. In the short story Harmonia”, the dialog often played a supportive role in the carrying out of actions. The story focuses on the efforts of a corn farmer, by the name of Diane Schmidt, to create a large music festival in pursuit of lifelong aspirations. In looking in the second passage of the third scene lies a fitting attestation to the formative role of dialog in this short story. 

In the lines before the dialog of interest, the writers explain to readers that Johnny Summer, a then new-age musician, and his manager have been tirelessly preparing the schedule for an upcoming tour (the PHEONIX et al., scene 3). This narration offers readers a situation without including out too much detail in a long drawn-out explanation. Instead the writers continue into a specific encounter between Diane Schmidt and the manager of Summer’s team over the telephone. It’s evident that the manager has been quite overwhelmed in his preparations, and the following clearly portrays his emotions, in his quick objection to Diane’s phone call without even completely understanding as to why she has called in the first place. This dialog accomplishes the creation of a logical and entertaining scene, in a more imaginative and vivid manner than an explanation could have. 

Along with the portrayal of the characters emotions and stances, the dialog also reinforces a common theme shown throughout the short story. Diane is frequently rendered as the underdog in many of the initial interactions within the story, and this scene is no exception. In scenes before and after the one at hand, Diane is put at the mercy of Mr. Roccafella, a railroad monopolist and businessman. The constant depiction of Diane as being dismissible is quite necessary to the overarching themes of the writing. Considering the time period of the story (1950’s), it was quite rare for a woman to be put in such a powerful role with high stakes in the action of the plot. It can be determined by the writers’ rhetorical and characterization decisions that “the triumph of the underdog” and feminism were formative thematic topics in the making of this story. 

(the PHEONIX et al., “Harmonia”, Storium, scene 3, https://storium.com/game/harmonia/act-3/scene-1)