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Relationships Between Parents & Children

Relationships between parents and children are often made more complex by the fact that in addition to the strong emotional ties shared between parents and children, children are not yet developed enough to understand the full ramifications of their parents' behavior or communication when young or adolescents. In Ethan Canin's "The Year of Getting to Know Us," Jamaica Kincaid's "Girl," and Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays," we see complex parent-child relationships. However, a common theme uniting these works is the difficulty for the children to fully understand their parents' behavior and communication because of their lack of development. This analysis will compare and contrast these three works in order to show that children often fail to grasp the full significance of their parents' behavior and communication when young.

In Ethan Canin's "The Year of Getting to Know us," we are provided with a short story in which the author is disturbed, in retrospect, by noticing aspects of his father's uncommunicativeness, which he disliked, in his own behavior. At one point in the story the father and son take a trip. The father tells him they are on this trip because he wants his son to know him "because one day you're going to grow up and then you're going to be me," (Canin, p. 42). Though the son longs to know his father more and they seldom play baseball or other activities fathers and sons share, the son only comes to a better understanding of his father as he develops and matures. As he initially says, "He never taught me," but eventually the son realizes his father did teach him much about life and himself, (Canin, p. 23).

In Robert Hayden's poem "Those Winter Sundays," we see the speaker remember experiences with his father in retrospect. When he was a young boy he never appreciated the sacrifices or struggles of his father to help provide for his family and secure their comfort. When he was little he felt like hi...

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Relationships Between Parents & Children. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:34, December 02, 2016, from