Friday, January 31, 2020

All for Love Essay Example for Free

All for Love Essay A parent-child relationship involves a lot of complexities. Basically, parents are responsible to provide for their children’s needs, whether material or immaterial. They are expected to perform duties to their children in spite of personal issues they have to deal with. Conversely, for children, there is the constant struggle to win their parents’ approval. These complexities in the parent-child relationship are illustrated in Sherman Alexie‘s, â€Å"Because My Father Always Said He was the Only Indian who Saw Jimi Hendrix Played ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at Woodstock† and D. H. Lawrence’s â€Å"The Rocking Horse Winner. † Analyses of the characters’ traits and motives provide a better understanding of how these complexities affect the relationship between parents and children. In addition, plot analyses help draw out a possible solution to the conflict. Told in the first person, â€Å"Because My Father Always Said He was the Only Indian who Saw Jimi Hendrix Played ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at Woostock† is a short story that talks about a father-son relationship. The son named Victor, serves as the narrator, who gives a picture of his father’s relationship with him and his mother by revealing his father’s character—his racial ideologies, hobbies, and behavior. In his revelation, the narrator gives a lighthearted view of the conflict zeroing on his father’s irresponsible behavior. Citing his father’s claim that he was the only Indian who watched Jimi Hendrix play the national anthem, the son establishes his father’s uniqueness and at the same time, his hippie attitude. Likewise, his father’s appearance to famous magazines as he knocks down an officer in defense of his political ideologies, illustrates the father’s aggressive and violent nature. Moreover, the accident the father suffers from while riding a motorcycle demonstrates his adventurousness. In sum, these descriptions show signs of the father’s irresponsible behavior, the wrong decisions he makes throughout his life. Particularly, the claim he makes regarding the concert of Jimi Hendrix demonstrates the tendency of the father to create and amuse himself with lies. Moreover, as Victor implies, his father is preoccupied with his own ambition and adventures, and he covers up his shortcomings by telling stories, and attributing his life-long search for meaning to his cultural origins. The father reasons out that his being an Indian affects him to behave the way he does. He uses his cultural origin to justify his weaknesses as a father, his obsession for music, and his erratic behavior. Parenting proves to be a difficult task for the father, mainly because of his confinement to his own affairs, his irresponsible nature. His attempt to establish individuality makes him unable to perform his obligations to his family. His acts of merrymaking with his friends and continuous search for adventures show his unpreparedness and incapability to fulfill his role as a husband and father. The difficulty of becoming a good parent is likewise tackled in D. H. Lawrence’s story. However, unlike the personal issues that the father deals with in Alexie’s story, the conflict is associated with the mother’s materialist disposition. Due to the extravagant life she is used to, the mother always feels the need of the family to produce more money. Even the house is personified as someone who whispers, â€Å"There should be more money. † Hence, the mother is always preoccupied with the thought of finding money, or as she tells her son, to being â€Å"lucky. † The excessive materialism of the mother causes her to feel indifferent towards her children. The narrator states that deep inside, â€Å"she knew that at the centre of her heart was a hard little place that could not feel love, no, not for anybody. † This indifference is what Marx (111) refers to as â€Å"alienation† in his â€Å"Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. † In simple terms, Marx implies that as people’s material needs grow, the need to produce money and to work becomes greater. In this process, workers or proletarians such as the mother soon lose control of their lives and their selves, just as they lose control of their work. Although the mother in the story is not characterized as a usual worker, her materialist needs make her a victim of the materialistic society in which she belongs. Considering this, the alienation she experiences is one that dehumanizes her, and disables her to establish emotional connection with her children. Considering the mother’s attitude of living beyond their means, the story closely mirrors Veblen’s (â€Å"The Theory of the Leisure Class†) view of the consumerist world. As the author claims, the consumerist equate personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of material things. In his â€Å"Theory of the Leisure Class,† the author discusses that people waste money and resources in order to display a higher status than others. In the story, the family â€Å"lived in a pleasant house, with a garden, and they had discreet servants. † Although they cannot afford such luxury, the parents maintain a high standard of living in order to feel superior to their neighbors. Acknowledging the need to produce more money, the mother works â€Å"secretly† in town, designing dresses for women. Even this effort of the mother reflects her consumerist attitude. As Veblen views, for the consumerist, the woman’s role is limited to that of a housewife, as this would show off a mans success. In the story, the wife works secretly in order to pretend that the family has enough means support their needs. As Veblen proposes, by not allowing the wives to take outside professions, a man could show off his economic status, although in the story, these are all a facade invented by the mother. Like the father in Alexie’s story, whose individuality seems to come first before all aspects in the world, the mother possesses a selfish attitude, which considers everything alright as long as her material needs are met. This submission to material things illustrates nothing but her selfishness. According to Stebbins (82-83) â€Å"the person who has the least interest in continuing the relationship normally possesses the greater power and is most liable to resort to exploitative behavior. † In the two stories, we see the parents as those who are less interested to continue their relationship with their children. In â€Å"The Rocking-Horse Winner,† the selfishness of the mother is best reflected in her request to withdraw the full amount that Paul secretly endows her. Although the mother uses the money to provide better education to her children, these are all due to her pride, her ambition to be regarded as superior to their neighbors. Moreover, her disinterest to find out whoever bequeaths her the big sum proves her ingratitude and materialist disposition. Furthermore, her insensitivity to her son’s condition, the fact that the three collaborators, the son, the uncle, and the servant are able to continue their deals without the knowledge of the family, provides a more lucid proof of the selfish nature of the mother. As the story relates, the selfish behavior of the mother drives the son to eagerly and desperately please her. Snodgrass (191) offers Freudian analyses of Paul’s character, claiming that the son’s effort to win his mother’s affection is Oedipal in nature. However, one may note that there is no established feud between Paul and his father. In fact, not much is said about the father; therefore, this claim cannot be fully established. Nevertheless, through the selfishness of the mother, one may see why the son becomes obsessed in the betting game. Ultimately, it is the mother’s materialistic ambition that drives the son to engage in the betting habit. It is also that, which leads him later to lose his senses. It can be noted that during their conversation, when Paul inquires about luck, the mother points out, Its what causes you to have money. If youre lucky you have money. Thats why its better to be born lucky than rich. If youre rich, you may lose your money. But if youre lucky, you will always get more money. This statement makes the son realize the importance of money and luck. As the mother equates luck with having money, the son struggles to find luck in order to please his mother. As the narrator reveals, the children in the house feel the indifference in the look of their mother. Thus, Paul, imbued by a son’s inherent desire to gain approval and be loved, forces himself to be lucky. More than the competition that some critics establish between the father and the son, it is the son’s emotional needs that move him to create something to please the mother. The same need for affection and approval motivates Victor. As he illustrates the sacrifices he and his mother bear just to please his father, one gets the notion of a one-way relationship where the father is at most on the advantage. The attention Victor gives his father justifies this notion. Specifically, his effort to listen and learn his father’s music, the acquired love for Jimi Hendrix, and the mere belief that his father was the only Indian who watched Hendrix’s performance of the â€Å"Star-Spangled Banner† attest to the son’s struggle to win his father’s affection, and to keep the bond between them. The problem of winning their parents’ affection is very visible in the two stories. Although this issue may look petty for some, it is revealed to be a serious issue in the two stories, especially â€Å"The Rocking-Horse Winner. † As the story shows, this conflict is what makes Paul go insane, rocking his toy horse unceasingly until it gives him the idea of who will win the race. At first, one can imagine that the habit of the son may just be a simple game he plays, but at the end, as the mother witnesses his son rocks his toy horse like a madman in the middle of the night, one can sense the psychological damage that results from the child’s longing for his mother’s love. The behavior and illness that the son shows at the end demonstrate the psychological damage he undergoes. Particularly, as the races draw near, the child develops some anxiety to come up with a forecast of who will win the race. As he already loses in the first two races, his anxiety grows worse, realizing that he has only one chance left to win during the season. As such, the simple anxiety then grows worse into a General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), affecting his whole system, making him unable to sleep and eat, gain consciousness, or in other words, continue with his normal life. In addition to GAD, psychologists may also agree that Paul develops psychological gambling. According to Franklin (Psychology Information Online), psychological gambling is an â€Å"impulse control problem which consists in persistent maladaptive gambling that creates serious life problems for the individual. † It is different from recreational gambling in that it affects seriously the way one lives, suggesting failure to function normally as an individual. As the story portrays, Paul seemingly lose his senses as he rocks his toy horse in the middle of the night. He also shows abnormal behavior as he repeats, â€Å"Malabar,† the name of the horse that will win the final race.

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