Beyond Forgiveness In Pat Conroy's The Prince Of Tides

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“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

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