Beyond Forgiveness In Pat Conroy's The Prince Of Tides

Good Essays
“In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness,” Tom Wingo says in Pat Conroy’s novel, the Prince of Tides. In this novel, Tom Wingo’s younger sister Savannah has tried to commit suicide for the third time. He goes to New York City, home of his sister, to talk to her therapist and find out what triggered this attempt. What he didn’t know was that he would be relating his entire childhood to Dr. Lowenstein, the therapist. As he relives his childhood of abuse and suffering, the present brings to light the present struggles that Tom has to deal with, such as his wife’s affair, his feelings toward Dr. Lowenstein, and his mother wanting to reconcile with her son after years of neglect and abuse. Bringing back to light Tom’s statement on forgiveness, …show more content…
Although he was their father biologically, he did not treat them as his children during points in their lives. He was verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive to his children and his wife, Lila.The first mention of his father’s physical abuse was on Stone Mountain, the day before Henry left for war. The Wingo family was having a picnic when Henry told Tom to hit his sister. Tom refused and Savannah tried to interject but Tom was beaten by his father and insulted and humiliated as his family panicked. His mother tried to stop Henry but she was shaken and hit by the father. It wasn’t until Luke, the eldest child, stopped his father by taking the beating meant for Tom. Luke was bleeding and bruised afterwards. The words of present day Tom told Dr. Lowenstein, “From that day, I renounced the part of me that was his and hated the fact that I was male”(Conroy, 118). As mentioned before, his father was also verbally abusive, one of the most predominant behaviors Henry portrayed in the novel. To Tom, he said, “I told you to stop crying, little girl” (Conroy, 116) when he was told to hit his sister. “You aren’t worth a damn, Savannah.” (Conroy, 168) was said when Savannah was trying to prove herself to her father. When the family was crying over Tom and Savannah’s transition into adulthood, Henry said, “Nothing I hate worse than a sensitive family” (Conroy, 475). The examples are endless when finding all the disrespect from Henry Wingo. Although in novel deals much with physical abuse, the events of Henry’s physical abuse aren’t described as often, but are mentioned throughout the Prince of Tides. Stone Mountain was the start of all of the abuse, physical, emotional, and verbal. Later in the novel, Luke was hit for defending his mother’s cooking, by saying, “Relax, Dad”(Conroy, 257). During the twins’ birthday, he beat Lila, his wife, for turning off the television when he was asked to come celebrate their

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Holden keeps his feelings bottled up inside because his parents do not allow him to speak his mind without getting defensive. This contributes to his sudden outbursts of hostility and anxiety. Holden’s dad is seen to be sexually abusive to him. After he leaves Mr. Antolini’s house, Holden says, “That kind of stuff happened to me about twenty times since I was a kid. I can’t stand it” (193).…

    • 1275 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Rafa is described as rude and disrespectful because of his attitude. The way Rafa talks to his mother is really unacceptable because of his tone and voice were described as yelling by Diaz. Even so, his mother support Rafa’s wrath as in the novel “If he’d come home one day and said, Hey, Ma, I exterminated half the planet, I’m sure she would have defended his ass: Well, hijo, we were over-populated.”(Diaz, 109) Rafa’s relationship with his mother is not a strong one and never will be because of the lack of respect. Rafa do love his mother, but he do not love her enough to respect her. This relationship between a mother and son is not an ideal relationship.…

    • 1351 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The two can’t to agree on anything and end up blaming each other in result regarding their son’s issues. The mother explained how her husband was overprotective and uptight when he declared horses as dangerous animals, while he blamed all of Alan’s issues on the very religious influence the mother had on him. All of the finger pointing blinded them from the problem at hand, Alan. Not only did their relationship tear them apart from each other, they completely lost sight of their son. The mother unwaveringly denied the option so see Alan multiple times when prompted by Dysart in the mental hospital.…

    • 846 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Narrative Essay On Kids

    • 753 Words
    • 4 Pages

    My brother screamed said, “hooyo why didn’t you stop this stupid kid from ruining our game.” My mom said, “oh he’s just a kid it doesn’t matter.” I kept bothering my brother the next day punching him and then he got mad and pushed me. I got mad and pushed him down an entire flight of stairs. My mom then got mad at me and didn’t give me anything I wanted for…

    • 753 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In Sherman Alexie’s works “Smoke Signals” and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven and Flight, all demonstrate how a parents’ abandonment can cause a destructive aftermath on their child. The main characters in each story blame their fathers for all the tribulations that they had to go through in their lives. Only the truth of their fathers’ abandonment will allow them to accept their anger and grief and give them the capability to move on with their lives. In the story Flight, Zits’ father abandons him and his mom, on the day he was born. Zits grew to hate his father for abandoning them that day at the hospital.…

    • 1054 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    His children and wives were terrified of him. Okonkwo beat his son for crying when he is told Ikemefuna will be leaving. I understand that in today’s life people use violence as an answer, but today if you are to cause physical harm to someone you face severe consequences. In the story when Okonkwo harms his wife or children, the other members of the tribe look in the other direction and pretend that they have not seen anything. This is just one example of how Okonkwo and his tribe remain primitive through the…

    • 829 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Her mother and father were emotionally abusive her father told her “I can’t see my little girl go out there in a bathing suit and get laughed at. You look terrible in a bathing suit.” while her mother set her up with men that were over double her age. Another example that can show how cruel her parents were was when they purposefully burnt down the house for the insurance money leaving Julie's dog in the house because he simply disliked it.“ Even though this book rotates around Munchausen by proxy it also delves into other issues of abuse the author…

    • 1018 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Her punishments towards Dave start to become more and more brutal. The abuse is both physically and mentally. This abuse is only inflicted on Dave, his brothers do not receive the save severe treatment. School is the only escape for Dave, but his mom held him back in the first grade because he was a “bad boy”. The abuse continually gets very severe to the point where Dave can’t watch T.V, he goes without dinner, his beatings become harsher, and he is forced to sleep in the…

    • 818 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He, however, has to endure the struggles of continuing to fight; only to be further disturbed by the horror war brings. This affects him later in life because Billy distances himself from his family due to the horrors he experienced. He walked in once on his son, Robert Pilgrim, during a party and realized that he did not really know him. His war trauma also affects his daughter, Barbara Pilgrim. The narrator describes her as a “bitchy flibbertigibbet” because she took the burden of being head of the family at a young age (Vonnegut 26).…

    • 1205 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He got in all sorts of fights at school and elsewhere. His mother was abused by his stepfather, and Roland had enough, “Roland had beaten up his stepfather for beating his mom. The mother took her husband 's side, and the stepfather got off with a warning. Roland, on the other hand, was sent to be unwound” (Shusterman 78). Roland was trying to protect him mom.…

    • 1135 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays