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Father-Son Relationships: Generation Gap Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jan 14th, 2022

Introduction

This paper will focus on the father-son relationships between the characters and the generation gap which appears between them in making discussion on the relevance representation. The paper aims at discussing the relationship structures existing between the pair with regards to binary oppositions, complementary structure, hierarchical and nonhierarchical structures that exist between them.

Main body

The cultural theory of such a relationship that is referred to as structuralism has the concept of a binary opposition which explains human knowledge and the number of phenomena that are constructed or can occur naturally. The relationship between father and son is binary opposition since it is composed of two parties. This binary opposition is a pair of opposites that is thought by a great many structuralists in a powerful form and organizes the human culture and thought. Some of these oppositions are commonsense, for instance, cooked and raw. In most cases, such oppositions are used in creating hierarchy. Just like in our daily lives when we are still children, we think that our dads are ideal, thus we are even used to idolizing them and assuming that they can do anything (Frank, p. 142).

The hierarchical structure of the relationship of the father and son begins at the teen level when the son starts to experience a period of discord when there are always conflicts that appear between these two parties as they do not share any common interests. Normally, this places the father and the son at odds and as a result, it leads to fear or resentment between them. This will depend on the intensity of the differences between them. The next thing that follows these issues is the attempt of consciousness to be different from each other, and things appear more of competition in the stage of discord (Spivak, p. 840).

Sons begin moving into the acceptance stage at their 30’s towards the fathers. They start recognizing and understanding their fathers’ strengths and weaknesses as well as they begin trying to forgive mistakes and spend their time admiring their fathers’ qualities. Such a situation is quite contrary to the previous stage where the sons viewed such qualities as contemptible. This was happening during their earlier ages when they were used to seeing their fathers as persons who try to be all-knowing. At this particular stage, the son may start experiencing responsibilities and challenges just like a father who has his son. Just like Wadsworth Charles once said, “…by the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he is wrong.” (Shelley, p. 259)

The hierarchical relationship structure between father and son normally exists where directions and directives are given from a vertical order, that is, the father is all-knowing and gives all the directives, the son is supposed to observe the rules set by the father. The non-hierarchical relationship structure exists at the young adult stage where the son begins to think on his own and make his own decisions. In various cases this usually is not the case mostly at teenage in which the sons usually reject the values, the expectations, and the directions that their fathers see and embrace, instead they adopt certain philosophies that are considered non-traditional in the eyes of the community. This is normally between the age of 30 and 40 when they are nearing their father. This is a stage where they start accepting their father’s differences with those of theirs and at this particular time, they even become friends and start sharing various common interests and begin expressing their opinions with no sign of any heated exchange. At this particular stage, the son may start experiencing responsibilities and challenges just like a father who has his son. In a complementary structure kind of relationship, the two parties, father and son share interests, and responsibilities. This is where the father complements the son. Father has duties to attend to and the son on the other hand complements by doing his part. In this relationship structure, there usually exists a mutual agreement between the parties. Superiority is not observed in this structure but responsibilities are shared where it is necessary to complement each other (Frank, p. 231).

Conclusion

In summary, it can be mentioned that the relationship between father and son is not normally smooth. In most cases, it is a hard relationship as the son always feels pressed by the demands of the father concerning the guidelines that need to be observed. Some people have cited reasons why they think this kind of relationship existing between father and son is hard, they argue that the family is always hard on fathers and the father is always forced to devote more time than mothers since the girls have the mother’s instinct of “just talk to him.” (Morrison 1010) This paper has put its focus on the father-son level of characters in making discussion on the relevance representation.

Works Cited

  1. Frank, Lentricchia. Critical Terms for Literary Study, 2nd Edition: Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2001
  2. Morrison, “Playing in the Dark” in Literary Theory: An Anthology 2nd edition, London, Blackwell Publishing. 2000. p.1005-1016
  3. Spivak, “Three Women’s Texts” in Literary Theory: An Anthology 2nd edition, Blackwell Publishing. 2000, p. 838-853
  4. Shelley, M., Poovey. “My Hideous Progeny” the Lady and the Monster: Boston, McGraw-Hill, 2001. p. 251-261
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IvyPanda. 2022. "Father-Son Relationships: Generation Gap." January 14, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/father-son-relationships-generation-gap/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Father-Son Relationships: Generation Gap'. 14 January.

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