Communications 9 Honors
17 April 2013
“The Times are a Changin”
“King for a day.” That’s how Jack Arnold hopes his children see him on his birthday. However, as his children age and his family changes, Jack realizes that maybe he isn’t “king for a day” in the minds of his children, and maybe he isn’t king at all. In the television series “The Wonder Years,” Jack’s morals and traditional self are put to the test when he realizes his kids aren’t little anymore. Jack’s stubborn attitude, traditional values, and defiance toward change resist the upcoming generation’s social and family values. Jack is the father of three teenagers, and he, along with his stay-at-home-wife Norma, struggle keeping them in line because of the changing era. His kids are growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s in southern California, making it hard for him to maintain his old-school morals. Not only does Jack have stubborn teens, he must keep up with his middle management job that does not pay well. But through these struggles he is still genuinely committed to his family and loves them deeply.
His commitment is evident when he encounters many interactions with his three teenaged kids, including Karen, his college-aged and unruly daughter; Wayne, the middle, frolicsome son; and finally Kevin; the youngest son, who also narrates the television show as an adult with voiceovers. The relationships between Jack and his kids are influenced by his early life and the way he grew up. Jack grew up in the Depression-era, later becoming a soldier for the U.S.
Marines and serving time overseas in Korea. His nonsensical and stubborn ways towards his children are truly shaken up with social revolution in the 1960s.
This is revealed in the episode “Road Trip,” when Jack and Kevin drive to go get a new suit for Kevin, on Norma’s demand, at a huge retail store. Unfortunately, it is two hours away. Norma provides them with directions, but...