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The Son's Veto and the Fly in the Ointment

  • Date Submitted: 10/14/2011 10:01 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 80 
  • Words: 566
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Compare and contrast how the relationship between parent and child is portrayed in "The Son's Veto" by Thomas Hardy, and V.S. Pritchett's "The Fly in the Ointment."
Thomas Hardy's, "The Son's Veto," and "The Fly in the Ointment" by V.S. Pritchett both tell stories of a young man and his parent. However, the role each "boy" assumes in the story is very different.
In "The Son's Veto," the young man's mother married his father—an older man. She had worked for him in his country house; she was below his station, but she had been injured while caring for his home, to the extent that she would never be able to walk and earn her keep. They marry and have a son who grows to be a snob. When his father dies and his mother is left alone—as her son spends barely any time with her...always away at school, etc.—she meets a man who had once loved her. As a widow, she is free and can marry and find happiness. However, when her son finds out, he refuses to allow her to marry someone so "low," fearing for his own reputation. He forces her to promise she will never marry without his consent. Ultimately, she dies waiting.
In "The Fly in the Ointment," Harold goes to visit his father at his place of business. His father has gone bankrupt and his son feels he should be there with his father during this painful transition of leaving everything he has known for thirty years behind.
The old man is not a very nice person. Pritchett describes their meeting in the old man's office.
"Come in, Professor," said the father. This was an old family joke. He despised his son, who was, in fact, not a professor but a poorly paid lecturer at a provincial university.
As they visit, the old man speaks of the mistakes he has made: the biggest was making money the most important thing in his life. However, as the old man speaks, his son notices that he has two "faces."
...the son noticed for the first time that like all big-faced men his father had two faces. There was the outer face like a soft...

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