Comparison of Two Short Stories by Tobias Wolff and T.C Boyle

1259 Words Mar 15th, 2007 6 Pages
From the weekend fishing trips to complete hatred and denial, father-son relationships can be characterized by many good and bad experiences. After reading the two short stories "Powder" by Tobias Wolff and "If the River was Whiskey" by T.C. Boyle, which both feature father-son relationships that are placed under a large amount of stress. There are many similarities and differences between these two relationships that are not apparent upon just a cursory glance. A father can be completely inconsiderate of his sons needs or try his best to meet them and still create turmoil within the relationship. After reading Wolff's short story "Powder," one can conclude that the father tries quite hard to make his son happy. In this story the father …show more content…
When they got down the road, the trooper tells them that the road is blocked and the son became annoyed and frustrated with his father's carelessness. He says to his father "we should have left before" (35) This comment made his father feel inadequate, and he did not respond to it. His father's recklessness directly affects their relationship. The boy is more like a man, and the father is more like a boy, showing the "adult" in a relationship is not always who it seems, but that people can learn about themselves by their relationships with others. The son was very uneasy and nervous when his father started driving down the snow covered road once the trooper left his post. Wolff shows this when he writes "to keep my hands from shaking I clamped them between my knees" (35). The connection was restored between them when the child decided to stop moping and began to enjoy himself. The child says, "My father in his forty-eighth year, rumpled, kind, bankrupt of honor, flushed with certainty. He was a great driver. All persuasion, no coercion, such subtlety at the wheel, such tactful pedalwork. I actually trusted him" (37). This was a big turning point in their relationship because the child now sees greatness in his father that he had never seen before. In Boyle's short story, "If the River was Whiskey" the same rocky father-son relationship that slowly takes a turn for the better is displayed. The father in Boyle's story is much worse than the

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