English 1101 – 07
March 4, 2011
Shelton vs. Travis
Travis and his father have never seen eye to eye. Shelton once told Travis’s high school principal that he was “nothing but a bother from the day he was born” (Rash 7). This statement among other things has Travis convinced that his father wants nothing to do with him. Parents are supposed to support their kids and prepare them for the harshness of the world, but this is most certainly not the case with Shelton and Travis. Shelton makes his son feel worthless and unnecessary everyday of his life. Is this cruelty a form of affection or a direct admission of hatred? As far as Travis is concerned, his father would be perfectly content if he didn’t exist.
Shelton has a history of putting Travis down and making him feel inadequate. Shelton does not understand that he is the only one in Travis’s life who he can look up to. Travis tries to seek his father’s approval but is shunned in the process. In many cases where a boy experiences lack of approval from the father, the boy has fear of embarrassment around other boys and also lack of confidence to compete in the highly competitive male identity. This is a sign of abuse; mentally as well as physically. “Abusive fathers tend to be very controlling of their children. Being self-centered, they demand respect and unconditional love. They are insecure and are constantly looking for signs of defiance or disrespect. An abusive father may feel that a child has more power than he does and may misinterpret a child's action as misbehavior. He therefore inflicts physical and mental abuse to regain control. An abusive father has a sense of entitlement, expecting his children to do as he says (Scott)”. Shelton would not let Travis take any college prep or academic courses; his reason, Travis “didn’t need college to farm tobacco” (Rash 95). Shelton does not want his son to leave town and be better than he was. Parents are supposed to want and do what is...