Powder, a short story written by Tobias Wolff, is about a boy and his father on a Christmas Eve outing. As the story unfolds, it appears to run deeper than only a story about a boy and his father on a simple adventure in the snow. It is an account of a boy and his father’s relationship, or maybe the lack of one. Powder is narrated by a grown-up version of the boy. In this tale, the roles of the boy and his father emerge completely opposite than what they are supposed to be but may prove to be entirely different from the reader’s first observation.
The father’s character begins to develop with the boy’s memory of an outing to a nightclub to see the jazz legend, Thelonius Monk. This is the first sign of the father’s unreliability and how the boy’s first recollection of a visitation with him was a dissatisfaction to his mother. The second sign of the father’s lack of responsibility appears again when he wanted to keep taking the boy down the snowy slopes even though he was pushing the time constraints put on his visitation with his son. He knew he was supposed to have the boy back with his mother in time for Christmas Eve dinner. Instead, the father wanted to be adventurous with his son and keep taking him down the slopes for one last run. When that one last run turned into several more, the father realized he was now pushing the time limits of his visit. Even though he thought he was going to get him home, he was met with a highway patrol’s blockade of the now closed road that led home.
The boy appears to play the role of the responsible adult more so than the father does. The boy has typical signs of a child from today’s broken family relationships; he does not want to disappoint either parent. The boy s...
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...gs and wants to win the mother’s approval again.
Nonetheless, this really is a tale of compelling love between the boy and his father. The actions of the boy throughout the story indicate that he really does love his father and seems very torn between his mother expectations and his father’s light heartedness. Many adults and children know this family circumstance so well that one can easily see the characters’ identities without the author even giving the boy and his father a name. Even without other surrounding verification of their lives, the plot, characters, and narrative have meshed together quite well.
"Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).” Brain Psychics. 2009. Web. 29 Jan 2010. http://www.brainphysics.com/ocd.php
This site contains information about different types of mental disorders, their causes, and their treatments.
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