Analysis Of Jennifer Egan's Safari

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The influence family members can have on the development of a child is enormous; they can either mold a healthy mind or drive a child toward darkness. Jennifer Egan’s Safari is a short story that highlights the different relationships in a family with a complicated background. Rolph and Charlie come from a divorced household and join their father, Lou, and his new girlfriend, Mindy, on an African safari. As the events of the trip unfold, Lou’s children experience a coming of age in which they lose the innocence they once possessed. The significant impact of family dynamic on children’s transition into adulthood is presented in Safari. Jennifer Egan uses Mindy’s structural classifications of Charlie and Rolph to demonstrate how Lou and Mindy’s relationship hinders the maturation of the two kids. Jennifer Egan’s use of structural classifications about Charlie’s role within her family displays the reason for Charlie’s…show more content…
Rolph is introduced as an innocent young boy early on in the story. He “doesn’t speak up all that often” (1) and is “too young to notice” (1) the extremely sexual relationship between Mindy and Lou. The generalization Mindy brings forward for Rolph is “structural affection” (5) in which Rolph “will embrace and accept his father’s new girlfriend because he hasn’t yet learned to separate his father’s loves and desires from his own” (8). Rolph’s fragile depiction foreshadows the importance of nurturing vulnerable children. If a child is already susceptible to emotional confusion or damage in their youth, it is important to provide them with an extremely positive upbringing to give them confidence to make their own decisions as they mature. In the case of Rolph, however, he does not receive the support he needs to make a healthy transition from childhood to
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