In this paper I emphasised on analyzing relationships of Parents and children in short stories Barn Burning by William Faulkner and Great Falls by Richard Ford. For the analysis of short story, I will discuss how childhood incidents can build the foundation of adulthood by analysing short story Death by Landscape by Margaret Atwood.
I am going to use formalist approach for analysis of the literature. In the formal approach the literature is looked from the structure point of view. It does not include grammar, it does include syntax, rhetorical figures, rhythm, style, point of view, theme and plot of the story or poem. These elements give literature a unique meaning which can be followed by readers and can be related to the normal humans. For instance, rhythm can give a poem a language which can persuade the audiences. On the other hand, rhetorical figures can be helpful in relating the poetic language normal objects in human lives.
Parent child relationships
“Great Falls’ and ‘Barn Burning’ are two short stories that revolve around the relationships within a family. While ‘Great Falls ‘by Richard Ford that speaks about the confines within a family, ‘Barn Burning’ by William Faulkner shows how a child chooses integrity over blood. In both stories, one can study and compares the parent-child relationships and how a growing child looks beyond his parents and becomes more independent.
In ‘Great Falls,’ the son Jackie is Caught within the events that play out between the mother and father. Jackie’s father teaches him how to hunt, asks him about girls, and even offers him a sip of whiskey. By doing so, he is teaching Jackie how to be a man. He asked him questions like” Do you worry about girls? Do you worry about your future sex life?” (Ford 539). However, the plot is not just about a father-son bonding but also about the lonely existence of his mother behind in the home. His father reminds him about what his mother once said, “nobody dies of a broken heart” (Ford 538). Comprehension begins to settle on Jackie when he sees a change in the relationship between his parents and his own relationship with them. He knows he is losing his mother not just because of her physical absence, but because she was not the same person, she thought she was. Even though he is with his father in a physical sense, he feels that his father is no longer the same person. Thus, for him, he has lost both his father and mother metaphorically. The current state of the situation makes him feel lonely. His mother’s words” Your life is your own business, Jackie” (Ford 546), leave him in deep thoughts. He wonders if he is old enough to think about his life and take charge of it. After his parents’ divorce, life takes a great fall for Jackie and how he finds himself suddenly in the world of adults and enters adulthood. He suddenly feels all grown up and mature like an adult as he reassures his father that things will ‘be all right’ (Ford 544). Jack is left alone in his own world to seek the answers to his questions. He must find his own explanation of the events that took place and changed his relationship with his parents forever.
The short story ‘Barn Burning’ focuses on the relationship between father and son. Instead of a warm, supportive, and caring father-son relationship, there is no respect or admiration here as seen in the story “Great falls” Abner, a migrant tenant farmer as a father figure, is just the opposite of what is expected from a normal father. He wants his son Sartoris to lie for him as he doesn’t want him to get caught for burning barns. The young boy finds it difficult to choose if it is right to lie to protect his father, or he should tell the truth. “He aims for me to lie, he thought with that frantic grief and despair.” (Faulkner 508). Faulkner draws attention to how the thickness of blood relations get tested under the yards of morality. Even though the boy doesn’t agree with his father, he still supports his decisions as for his father. ‘You are going to be a man. You got to learn. You got to stick to your own blood” (Faulkner 510). The young boy defended his father even though he knew his father was wrong. However, toward the end, of the story, he is willing to go against his father for justice and his conscience. His loyalty towards his father undergoes transition, and gradually he realizes that blood need not be always thicker.
In terms of parent-child relationship in both the stories, the young child is forced to revaluate the position of his parents in his life and questions the notion of parental authority. Finally, the child is left on his own to deal with morals, identity, and humanity and comes to terms with truths in his life. In both the stories, the young child is forced to leave the protected world of childhood and are forced to think like an adult. In both the stories, the growing young child gains a better understanding of authority and identity and interpret them on their own.