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April 2, 2016 | Author: | Posted in literature and language

Gaston Versus the Hand that Rocks the Cradle

A Mother ‘s Role in Dysfunction In Gaston ‘ William Saroyan reminds us that mothers have the power to influence important aspects of their children ‘s lives and create mirror images of themselves . This short story quickly but effectively shows us that maternal power can be used for purposes that serve the adult but harm the child . In an important lesson about social norms , we learn that parental authority based on narrow-mindedness and personal prejudice forces children to behave against their own natural instincts [banner_entry_middle]

and often creates a family situation that is dysfunctional

This dysfunction is usually avoidable , as in the case of Gaston ‘ where the child could have been much happier if only the mother had been more willing to let her daughter appreciate her father on his own terms . Using a third-person point of view , Saroyan tells of the six-year-old girl ‘s exploration of a world that is quite different from her own , as she visits an estranged father living in a Paris home far removed from her New York one . The father is a virtual stranger to the girl , who couldn ‘t quite remember when they had been together before (Saroyan , and the man ‘s casual clothing is a contrast to the formal shirts and ties worn by the men she usually sees back home Even the father ‘s residence is unlike those she knows , as the narrative explains , She was with him in his home in Paris , if you could call it a home (Saroyan . That sentence is a revealing one , telling us that the girl considers the Paris home somehow inferior to hers . Despite these cultural differences , the girl quickly forms a close bond with her father , reflecting that they had been together for almost a hundred years now , or was it only since day before yesterday (Saroyan . She finds the man ‘s unfamiliar appearance to be comical but joins right in with his casualness , and we learn He was barefoot and so was she , of course (Saroyan . When a bug crawls out of a peach the man had been eating , the girl ‘s reaction is quite different from her father ‘s . She has been raised to think of insects as disgusting things that must be killed when encountered . She asks Aren ‘t you going to squash him (Saroyan , offering as a reason for this treatment , He is a bug . He is ugh (Saroyan . The father ‘s attitude is a complete mystery to the girl , as he personifies the insect , calling him Gaston and attributing him with human qualities such as handsomeness and confusion . Again , the child ‘s natural open-mindedness allows her to accept this way of thinking and participate in it , even asking her father to find a new home for the displaced bug Gaston

Up to this point the story serves as an example of the successful integration of one culture with another . The father has taught his daughter that there are different ways of viewing… [banner_entry_footer]


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