May 12, 2013
Healthy People Have Healthy Relationships
In times of immense strife, a child’s relationship with their parents becomes more important. As a child’s world is turned upside down, they cling to the familiar as means of self-identification and discovery in confusing circumstances. But when parent child relationships become unhealthy, a child’s sense of identity is damaged as they struggle to rectify their sense of self without clear role models to follow. In particular, relationships between parents and children of the same gender carry with them gendered ideals of self and identity that further strain the relationship between the parent and child. Both Fantastic Mr. Fox and Maus look at father son relationships that are under immense strain, and how the characters discover their identities through working their troubled relationships out. Throughout both of these works, there is a theme of self-discovery as the means of improving relationships and the moral of each story is that to understand truly each other, one must first understand oneself. The film adaptation/imagination of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox deviates from the source material in positive ways and introduces an interesting father-son subplot between the titular protagonist and his son(s). At the start of the film, Mr. Fox and his son Ash have difficulties communicating with each other. An ambitious and upward thinking individual, Mr. Fox is less than thrilled with his son’s wiry frame and lack of athletic ability. Ash falls short of the “ideal” athletic masculine archetype that Mr. Fox likes to think of himself as, so when the naturally athletic Kristofferson comes to stay with the Foxes, Mr. Fox naturally gravitates towards a father-son relationship with Kristofferson. This causes Ash to feel tension and jealousy because he sees Kristofferson as a rival for his father’s attention. As the movie progresses and...
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