Broken Home and Powedring Snow
“Powder” is a story written by Tobias Wolff in 1996 staged in the mid to late 1950’s. This short story is about a boy and his father skiing at Mount Baker on Christmas Eve and what it takes them to get back home in time for dinner. The father and his wife are close to divorce. Although she is still angry about him taking their son to see Thelonious Monk, she lets them go. The father promises her hand over heart to keep him safe during the Mount Baker ski trip and get him home on time. Wolf recounts the day with vivid detail, telling us the reasons why his parents’ divorce was imminent, but also how much he loves his father despite his faults. In these two characters of father and son there is a reflection of many modern day “broken home” situations. Moreover, the standard role of father and son has been reversed in this story. The development of the father character begins with his son’s flashback of being brought to a nightclub against the will of his mother. He wanted to bring his son to see jazz great Thelonious Monk. Wolf has intended to portray the father as a reckless parent with no regard for the welfare of his child. In the father’s defense we are left with a disclaimer that the father is only trying to institute a foundation of culture upon his son. The boy was not thrust into this environment with the intent of exposing him to the tribulations of a nightclub atmosphere. It becomes easy for the father to not hold back in the presence of his son. The father does not have custody of the boy so he isn’t burdened with the role of disciplinarian. As Wolf has noted “As the lift bore us to the peak yet again, my father looked at his watch and said, “Criminy. This’ll have to be a fast one.” ”(Wolf 211). So, when receiving time to spend with his son he is able to have fun and not worry about the effects of his teachings. The boy, who is our narrator throughout the story, becomes Wolff’s opposition to the father character....
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