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Summary of "Father and Son" by Bernard McLaverty

The story "Father and Son " written by Bernard McLaverty tells about the relationship between a father and his son. They lost their wife/mother, and father and son aren't able to cope with this situation.
The author shows two extreme feelings in a relationship between father and son: hate and love .
The son doesn't talk to his father because he hates his father for having less courage than a mouse. The father loves his son because he seems to be the only one who is left. Therefore he is worried about his son all the time because he doesn't know what he is doing all day long. His son isolates himself by locking the door to his room because he believes that his "lousy" father isn't strong enough to help him with his problems, which are not explained. What becomes obvious is that he feels threatened as well and therefore has a gun under his bed.
And this attitude towards his father seems to be understandable because his father feels threatened. He fears to be attacked and takes a lot of valium.
Both father and son are ill, physically and mentally. The father wants to talk to his son, wants to put his arms around his shoulders, wants to make thinks better but he has to realize that he is unable to because his son hates him. One evening his son answers the door and is shot. The background to this is not so easy to understand but it looks like the son was involved in any sort of sectarian violence. After having read "Cal" the story is easier to understand. It might be a realistic description of a young man who tried to get away from a militant paramilitary group and could be seen as Cal's fate as Skeffington describes it to him when he says he wants "out".
Bernard MacLaverty: "Father and Son".
In: The Short Story and You (Klett-Verlag)


by Martin Janssen

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EN21L Gymnasium Ulricianum Aurich - Stand : 02-12-98