Whipped this up fairly quickly yesterday (it seems someone beat me to the inclusion of the Great Depression…oh, well.) If you read about this time in history, it was pretty wrecked. People were losing their jobs like crazy and families were going homeless. I think if it had been more significant to the story, Pixar could've told a bit more about this time period.
BTW, "Hoovervilles" are these shanty little towns that were created to give jobless/homeless people at least a roof over their head during the Depression.
"I said no," Arthur Fredricksen repeated.
"I'll take care of 'im all by myself, I promise! I'll feed 'im and walk 'im and teach 'im not to beg for scraps, I promise!"
"Carlton, this family simply cannot afford it, you know that."
"I'll help!" the boy tried. "I-I can help Mr. Dara at the store!"
"You've got your studies to be concerned with. And your mother and I won't have anything chewing up Grandmother Evelyn's furniture."
"He won't, really he won't! I'll train him not to!"
"I'll keep 'im in my room! You and Mom wouldn't know he was there!"
"Carlton! You heard what they were saying on the radio," Arthur's voice grew serious. "We're in the middle of the worst economic crisis of the century. We'll be lucky if I can somehow keep my job through this mess and we don't wind up in a Hooverville within the month… I'm sorry, Carl, but we just cannot bear the expense of a dog. End of discussion."
With this, the boy couldn't even begin to argue. He didn't fully understand this crisis his father spoke of, but he did know that since the later months of 1929, life in the Fredricksen household – and in the rest of the country – had changed drastically. Even at Christmastime, they were barely spending much more than a few pennies. His dad was away at work most of the time, usually not getting back home until far after his bedtime – he even had recently come home once, sick with fever from working in the lumber yard out in the cold…yet he still returned to work there the following day.
All Carl did know was that whatever was happening, he didn't like it.
And here he was – the kid with the funny glasses that never said a word to anyone at school, right in the middle of it. Quiet, reserved, and spending most of his free time imagining he was somewhere else. His parents had urged him over and over again to speak up and try to make some friends at school. No one, however, seemed to want to approach someone so shy.
Yet to Carl, dogs were an entirely different story. They didn't need words or formalities, and they weren't judgmental. He knew, however, that it did take money to feed them and take them to the vet…and that this, like several other things as of late, his father wasn't going to allow. Once Arthur C. Fredricksen said "no", it was in stone.
But someday, Carl hoped, he'd find that loving, simple-minded, wet-nosed companion – even if it took him the rest of his life.