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Sunday in the park is about two families who are Morton, his wife and child Larry and another family a man who is a bully, his wife and a child known as Joe.
The setting is in a park on a Sunday afternoon and Morton is reading a Times Magazine while Joe’s father is reading a comics book. In the beginning of the story, one thinks that the story is about Morton’s happy family, but the story reveals that there might be trouble in the family.
The end of the story shows that there are unsaid things like Morton’s wife seems disappointed by her husband because she thinks that he is weak.
Sunday in the park is a very descriptive story that gives the reader a mental image of what the narrator is feeling in the surroundings of the plot of the story.
The narrator is also the protagonist, is the wife to the gentleman in the story who is known as Morton. The narrator goes to the park on a Sunday afternoon with her family, her husband and her child. This paper will explore characters in the book ‘Sunday Park’ that cause lack of communication (para1 line 5).
The beginning of the story gives the reader a clear mental image of the environment in the park whereby, it is peaceful and the weather is conducive for a family to enjoy their free time outdoors.
The narrator portrays the attitudes of two particular families in the park and describes one as polite and good and the other one portrayed as being bad. The ‘good family’ is represented by Morton and his wife. Morton reads the Time magazine which shows him to be learned and intelligent (Kaufman 2).
As he reads, he has one arm around his wife. Morton’s wife watches her son Larry as he plays in the park. At that moment, Larry is playing in the sandbox. This creates the impression that the Morton’s family is happy and lives the ideal life that any American family would like to live.
The boy from the other family whose name is Joe is described as having thrown sand at Larry and his father did not look up although he must have heard the commotion and must have known that his son was involved.
After reading ‘Sunday in the park,” the reader gets the impression that the author might have wanted to pass the message that an individual should stand for their beliefs. Morton is reasonable and rational which might be suggested by his profession.
Morton is a professor at the university. He is intelligent and he physically appears pale and timid which creates the impression that he does not like confrontation. His physical structures also suggest that he might not be a confident individual.
When Joe the chubby boy throws sand at Larry who is Morton’s son (para 2 l 1), the mother wants to tell the chubby bully not to throw sand at her son but she does not want to seem like she is interfering in her child’s play.
Morton’s wife tries to tell the bully not to throw sand at her son (para 4 line 1) until the bully’s father who is also a bully intimidates Morton’s wife. The bully’s father, who is portrayed as being unreasonable is reading comics and he encourages his son to throw sand at Larry (Para 5 line 1). Morton’s wife looks at her husband to intervene.
Morton is seen as being passive when he tries to reason with the bully’s father. He is a reasonable man and he seems to think that he can try and make the chubby bully’s father reason and tell his son not to throw sand at Larry.
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Morton’s passiveness is observed when he retreats from a potential fight which he saw might have turned out to cause physical injury to him. The bully father is more masculine (para 8 line 3) as compared to Morton. Morton decides to be rational and reasonable when he avoids physical confrontation with the bully father.
Morton’s wife is seen as being passive, aggressive and unreasonable because she gets disappointed when her husband does not have a physical confrontation with the bully’s father yet she knew that it might have resulted into physical injury for her husband. Morton’s wife is also portrayed as being conflicted because she expects her husband to fight with the bully’s father yet she can see that the bully’s father is physical superior to Morton.
This is contradictory because she is delighted that her son is a pleasant boy but she wants her husband to engage in physical confrontation which is immoral and would serve as a bad image for Larry. Morton’s wife knows that physical fights should not be used to solve conflict yet she feels disappointed that her husband does not use physical confrontation to solve the disagreement with the bully’s father (Para 10 line 3).
The chubby bully’s father approaches Morton and for a while, he must think that he will get a thorough physical beating but fortunately, the man takes his son and they leave. The chubby bully’s father must think that it would not be worth it to beat a defenseless man in front of his son and wife.
The man is very confrontational in contrast to Morton as he had told him that if he did not like what was going on in the park he should just leave. Morton is portrayed as being rational when he chooses not to fight with the chubby bully’s father because he would have set a bad example for his son. Larry might have gotten the message that it is through physical confrontation that one can be able to solve problems with other individuals.
But from the experience on Sunday in the park, Larry must have learnt that it is not right to engage in physical fights just so as to have one’s way. Morton tries to explain to his wife that he did not want to get into a physical confrontation with the chubby bully’s father as it might have resulted in injuries (Para 14 Line 3).
Morton must also feel that it would have been a bad example to his child. While they are going to their vehicle when leaving the park, Larry cries and Morton tells his wife to discipline him so that he keeps quiet.
Morton’s wife does not comply with her husband’s wishes which portrays her as being passive aggressive. As the mother, she is the expected to have the major role of disciplining the child. Morton decides to calm the boy himself so that he (Larry) can stop crying (Para 15 line 2).
The emotional trait that Morton’s wife portrays that her marriage to Morton might not last for long as she seems to loathe him inside for not being strong enough. The incident in the park on the Sunday afternoon was a show of the kind of behavior she would like her husband to engage in.
There might be other incidents similar to the one in the park which might leave Morton’s wife disappointed in her husband and secretly hating him for being weak.
She might not be able to tolerate his ‘weakness’ for very long and with time, she might tell him what she really thinks of him which would make Morton feel angry because he knows that he cannot be the kind of man that his wife would want him to be and he would not be happy if he continued living with his wife Para 16 line 1).
They might however, not decide to separate because of Larry because it would lead to an unhappy marriage until they decide that they cannot stand each other anymore.
Kaufman portrays the characters in a manner that the reader can identify with. It is not right to engage in physical confrontation with bullies because it would not solve anything.
This view also makes the reader sympathize for Morton because his wife who is supposed to be by his side and approve of his decision of not engaging in a conformation, wishes that he had fought with the bully man. One is left wondering why she got married to Morton in the first place yet she must have known that he was a reasonable and intelligent man.
Kaufman, Bel. Sunday in the Park. New Yolk: Applause Books, 2000. Print.