In both these stories, the father and their two sons struggle to comply with each other. Both authors utilize the past, present, and future expectation of what a parent hopes their son to become. Whether it involves a supportive or ignorant parent, it is the unique way in which each portray their love for their child, that causes us to question, what makes one a good father? Me would like to believe that only a disturbed parent responds in a way that is damaging to a child. Unfortunately, even parents who are loving and well meaning also blame, shame, accuse, ridicule, threaten, bribe, label, punish, preach, and normalize” (1).
This statement, made by author, Dry. G. Connoting in her book Between Parent and Child: The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication speaks of the reality that even caring parents may be punitive towards their kids. This certainly applies to Troy, the father of Cord and Lyons, in Fences. During his youth, Troy was not allowed to join the Majors Leagues primarily because of racial discrimination. Unable to cope with his dreams being torn, he failed to come into the realization that times were different now.
His wife Rose tried to make him see that the generation had changed by telling him, “they got lots of colored boys laying ball now, baseball and football” (842). Cord even points out to his father several current black baseball players, like the famous Hank Aaron. But Troy dismisses all of this and tells his son, “The white man anti goanna let you get nowhere with that football anyway” (835). Troy simply cannot acknowledge that times have changed. Instead of allowing Cord to pursue football, Troy destroys his son’s dreams.
He refuses to sign the permission paper and prevents the college recruiter from coming. Through Troy’s belligerent behavior, it is evident that his actions speak from something within. But in order to fully understand Troy’s behavior one must first explore the way he was brought up. As noted by W. P. Kennedy, “the origins of Troy’s hardness are to be found in his personal history. His clearest early model of manhood was the father he was forced to reject On his own at fourteen, Troy had to harden himself against a world at best indifferent, at worst hostile, to his desires” (Kenney).
At a young age Troy was force to raise himself, as described in act one scene four, Troy’s childhood was shattered due to the lack of commitment from both his parents (842). Troy inherited useful yet unfortunate traits from his dad. He gained the sense of responsibility from his father’s bitter care for him and his siblings. Although his mother abandoned him, his father remained by his side (842). But yet he received no affection from him since his father believed that love was not an obligation, but a job (843). Troy repeats this philosophy on Cord by not supporting him in his dreams.
But one must see beyond the surface of Troy’s actions and acknowledge that his rejection in the Major Leagues had a big part to do with it. The psychological affect that baseball had on Troy is what causes him to become angry and stubborn towards everything around him. This essentially as an impact on his relationship with his son Cord. The inability to support his son’s dreams of playing for a college football team embodies the obstacle that he had for so long feared. In Troy’s mind, he is just trying to keep his son from suffering the Same disappointments he had to go through.
Out of the fatherly impulse to protect his son, Troy refuses to make an effort to understand Cord. He fails to see beyond his experiences and knowledge, as he is caught prisoner in between the changing cultures, leaving him disoriented in a new generation. This causes Cord to become furious towards his father and eventually erupting a fight. Troy strikes his son and sends him away form home (845). It is through the harsh action that Troy takes against his son that causes their relationship to break. Like Dry. G. Connoting comments, “most parents are unaware of the destructive power of words.
They find themselves saying things that they heard their parents say to them, things they don’t intend in a tone they don’t like” (2). Even though Troy does not directly demonstrate any affection towards his son, you start to understand that maybe his past is what holds him from doing so. Unlike Fences, ‘ ‘The Parable of the Prodigal Son” by Luke represents a forgiving father who purports his younger son’s decision. The idea that our father (God) is willing to take anyone in, regardless of their sins and forgive them is the inevitable characterization of love.
As depicted by Luke, the father is the sheer representation of unconditional love. Patrick K. Dooley explores this interaction between father and son in his article “The Prodigal Son Parable and Manacle’s A River Runs through it:” Jesus lessons in this parable call attention to a wide range of complex relationships: 1) the dynamics between the father and the older brother, 2) how both of them deal with each other ND the younger son, and 3) how all three of them confront the reality that while the older brother is sane, sensible and responsible, the rash, profligate and irresponsible son is nonetheless the favored one (Dooley).
Dooley points out the variety in relationships between the father and his two sons. Much like Fences, Troy treats Cord differently from his older son Lyons. Lake’s parable begins with the younger son asking his father to give him his portion of the family estate as an early inheritance. When the money runs out the son recognizes his foolishness and decides to return to his father and ask for his forgiveness. Contrary to Troy, the father supports his son’s decision although he did not agree with him. The father still remains hopeful for his son’s return and when he does come back he does not hold any resentment towards him.
As mentioned in paragraph six, “quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke, 23). The father who had been watching and waiting, receives his son back with open arms, overjoyed by the return of his lost son. Although his son returns home, the concept of how the father praises his unsuccessful son apart from his older son, causes one to question the true validity behind it.
In the article, “The Relationship Between Parents and Children: Understanding the True Desires of Your Children,” Bruce Mallory’ questions, “What can We do for a child who is so full Of life power that he just cannot sit still, and help him harness this power in the right direction? ” The statement generates us to think on how a parent could deal with two kids, each falling in opposite directions. It is evident that in the prodigal, the father demonstrates ore compassion towards his younger son. The pity he feels for his younger son causes him to be more open to his son’s mistakes.
Like in Fences, Troy is more understanding to Lyons and his musical career than Coors football career. Although he is hesitant to demonstrate his absolute support, he tries to supplement his support with money. All Troy contributes to Loon’s life is the occasional ten dollars that Lyons receives from Troy’s pay (834). Troy was never much of a father to Lyons because he was in prison (829). Knowing that he was barely a part of Lyons childhood causes Troy to be more sympathetic awards his older son (834). As for the father in the parable he understands that his younger son is lost.
The obligation a father has towards his son is to lead him to a prosperous path. Because the father sees that his older son is smart with a bright future he shows little acknowledgement towards him (Luke, 30). As described in paragraph 28, verse 30, the older brother tells his father, “Look! All these years Vive been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so could celebrate with my friends. ” The fact that the older son has always obeyed his father and ever asked anything in return demonstrates his character of a hard-worker.
But when he sees that his younger son may be falling in a dangerous path, he worries and tries to show him more affection. In both stories, both fathers witness a struggling son who they somehow feel condemned to help. It’s the pity that both these fathers feel that causes them to treat each son differently. A fundamental part of parenting revolves around communication. Dry. G. Connoting suggests that “the tragedy of communication often lies not in the lack of caring but in the lack of understanding: not in the lack of intelligence UT in the lack of knowledge” (2). The idea behind how parenting ones own child is often left to debate.
No one can really educate or judge on how a father or mother should be; it’s a journey that each individual must take. As some parents may tend to be more loving than others, their goal still remains the same, to ensure the safety of their child. For Troy Manson, parenting may have come at a hefty price, due to the obstacles he had to endure during his youth. But its his role as a father to take care of his family and provide a roof over their head that indicates him to be a good man at heart. Meanwhile, the ether in the prodigal, transpired a father who recognizes both sons but seeks to aid the one who needs more help.