“ARM WRESTLING WITH MY FATHER” BY BRAD MANNING AND “SHOOTING DAD” BY SARAH VOWELL
In these two stories, both authors depict the condition of his/her parent/child relationship in spatial terms and their perception of gradual changes by expressing the hardship of understanding affection from each of their father during their childhood. Although these two are connected, each author has different conditions in terms of relationship with their own father and ways of describing to depict their stories. After analyzing each story, I believe that Brad Manning’s “Arm Wrestling with My Father” wins over Sarah Vowell’s “Shooting Dad” in terms of sharing with the readers about his relationship with his father more vividly.
Brad Manning’s “Arm Wrestling with My Father” is about a father and son relationship which takes us not only around the physical aspect of the family but also the dynamics of psychological effects on the family. In the opening scene, we were presented by the idea of a whole “predator and prey” situation where Manning’s father was the dominant being. This takes place after a match of arm wrestling between Manning and his dad and having himself lose in the end. “…I always had to lose” (BM 126) refers to the fact that he had never won a single match of him against his father in his whole entire life. The positioning involved Manning’s dad being on top of him and rubbing the essence of defeat towards his son who was lying on his back, proves that his dad has a “superiority” attitude as he was mocking on the “inferior”. In this story, readers could see that Manning puts up with the tradition of arm wrestling not because he enjoyed it as much, but only does it to win the match so that he would finally be accepted by his father and mostly, himself. Manning also managed to establish the fact that although during the moment of arm wrestling they are physically close but emotionally they are out of sync. Manning also illustrates about the differences between...
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