Response for missing 11/16/10
Cutting Down the Tree
Beka and her father have a rocky relationship from the beginning of the book. On page 19 Beka talks about how her father calling her names, like “phoney” are sometimes more hurtful than the physical abuse. Her father says that he “couldn’t understand how a girl with enough food to eat, decent clothes to wear, and a roof over her head could be such a trial.” The first instance of lying in front of her father resulted with the whipping her with his belt. She was cut across the face with the belt buckle and the scar is a constant reminder of the pain she experienced as a result of her lying.
This lying didn’t stop and later in the chapters, Beka informs her parents that she passed the grade at school, even though she had failed four classes. When she confessed to her father that she had lied once again about being passed on to the next grade, she expects that her fait is that of previous terms. Instead, her father tells her “You are growing wild like that bougainvilla that’s breaking down Miss Boysie’s fence. All flash and no substance” (Page 25). With this Beka pleads to still be allowed to go back to school. With no response, her father cut down that tree that belonged to Beka while she was sleeping. When Beka askes why her father cut down the tree, he responds with “It was breaking down the fence, Beka” (page 25).
The cutting down of Beka’s tree is a very symbolic part of Beka coming of age. The tree is symbolic of the growth that Beka has done in her life; the molding and shaping that her father has done to her in order to make her the daughter that he wanted. Like Beka, no matter the love and care put into tending to the tree, it became over grown and started to destroy its surroundings. Beka’s lies grew out of control like the tree to the point were small pruning of her actions could not alter her overall demeanor. Her dad made the example my erasing the entire tree in...