Comparing Father-Son Relationships in The Chosen, The Gift, and Paul's Case

Comparing Father-Son Relationships in The Chosen, The Gift, and Paul's Case

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Father-Son Relationships in The Chosen, The Gift, and Paul's Case

      The bond between a parent and a child is one of the strongest things on this earth. The relationships between father and son in the novel The Chosen by Chaim Potok, the poem "The Gift" by Li-Young Lee, and the short story "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather all show this strong bond. In all three genres father and son are the most prominent characters. All have the absence or near absence of mother figures. They also all show how important a father is to his son. The Chosen by Chaim Potok, "The Gift" by Li-Young Lee, and "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather all show the importance of father-son relationships through the fathers' involvement in their sons' lives, the fathers teaching their sons life skills, and the fathers' immense love for their sons.


The fathers in The Chosen, "The Gift," and "Paul's Case" all show involvement in their sons' lives through the care that they give them and the help they give them. In The Chosen, David Malter showed a great amount of care for his son Reuven. When Reuven was in the hospital, David often would come to visit him to see if he was all right. He was also always kind and understanding towards Reuven, even if Reuven did something he didn't approve of. Potok writes, "He looked at me and I saw his eyes were suddenly sad. 'I did not intend to scold you,' he said"(Potok 64). In "The Gift," the speaker's father also showed care towards the speaker in the removing of the splinter. The father did it in such a way as to give the child no pain. The speaker says, "To pull the metal splinter from my palm / my father recited a story in a low voice / I watched his lovely face and not the blade / before the ...

... middle of paper ...

... and their love for their sons, no matter what kind of love it may be. The father-son relationship is enhanced in these works by the absence of mothers, who had either passed on or were not very essential to the plot of the work. Through these works, the importance of a father-son relationship can truly be shown.


Works Cited


Cather, Willa. "Paul's Case." Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense. 7th ed. Ed. Thomas R. Arp. Ft.  Worth: Harcourt, 1998. 154-169.

Potok, Chaim. The Chosen. Ballantine Books. New York City, New York. 1967.


Works Consulted:

 Chang, Juliana. "Reading Asian American Poetry." MELUS 21.1 (Spring 1996): 81-98


Lee, Li-Young. Rose. New York: BOA, 1986.

-----. The City in Which I Love You. New York: BOA, 1990.

-----. The Winged Seed: A Remembrance. New York: Simon, 1995.


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