Morris Lurie's Pride and Joy Essay

Morris Lurie's Pride and Joy Essay

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Write about how one character from Morris Lurie’s Pride and Joy is
presented and how this character develops key concerns in the story.

Billy in Morris Lurie’s ‘Pride and Joy’ is initially presented as a 16
year old boy who literally lives his life in the footsteps of his
abusive, irresponsible, bohemian father, Ned Mathews. By the end of
the story Billy’s character has undergone a transformation to become
his own person; he has broken away from his father. This short story
is told in first person narrative by an anonymous narrator. This
narrator is a tourist on an island in the “Great Barrier Reef” who
tells his account of his encounter with millionaire Ned Mathews and
his son, Billy. Through his characterization of Billy, Morris Lurie
conveys themes of self realization, responsibility, judgment, and
parenting. This essay will show how Billy’s characterization develops
Morris Lurie’s themes.

Wealth, ownership, control and his desire for his father’s approval
shows how Lurie, through his characterization of Billy conveys his
theme of lifestyle choices. Ever since Billy and his father come to
the island they act like they own everything and everyone on it. When
they go to eat breakfast in the morning, Billy deals with the “very
pretty” waitress like she is a prostitute, “‘What’s ya name, honey? he
said ‘Why?’ said the girl. ‘I always like to know the names of the
girls I sleep with.” Lurie’s use of a colloquial language and
inappropriate language such as ‘honey’ and ‘sleep with’ during Billy’s
dialogue with a waitress show his desire to control a situation and to
please his father; “‘Easy, son’ said Mathews, but his face was beaming
with pride. Billy’s self-confident and commanding swagger, “He
[Billy...


... middle of paper ...


...e role model and a poor parent. Through Billy’s actions
Lurie also shows that Billy is not prepared to live the lifestyle of
his father. “The boy I noticed had to take a breath half way down.”
This quotations refers to the fact that Billy cannot drink all of the
beer in one “gulp” when his father can as proof that his father’s life
is not necessarily appropriate for him. This concern of Billy not
being suited for his father’s life is restated by the narrator when he
wonders, “How long can he last?”

Through Billy, Lurie is able to express his themes and concerns in an
interesting and realistic manner. The themes and concerns developed
in ‘Pride and Joy’ may appear to be very simple and obvious but that
by no means makes them less important. Themes such as self
realization, responsibility, judgment, and parenting are very
significant in everyone’s lives.

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