The breadwinner

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The breadwinner

By | June 2013
Page 1 of 2
The Breadwinner
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“The Breadwinner” by Leslie Halward is a short story set in the 1930’s during the Great Depression. The father has lost his job and is relying on his son’s wages to support him and his wife. The man and women fight over Billy’s pay. Billy lies to his father, saying that he has lost the money but then there is a surprise when he gives it to his mother. The story takes place in a small house that is “meanly furnished”. This tells us the family are quite poor and are not living in the best conditions. This makes it hard for them as they are reminded of how bad their situation is. We also see the family is poor because they are only having bread and butter for tea: “The mother was… cutting some slices of bread and butter for tea”. This shows they cannot afford much food and have to survive on the bare necessities. This adds tension to the house. The author creates a vivid impression of each character and the relationships they have with each other. First impressions of the father suggest that he is fairly lazy and allows his wife to do all the work around the house. At the very start of the story we are told that he is “sprawled inelegantly in an old armchair” while his wife sets the table. The man also clearly has no respect for his wife and tells her “shut your mouth”. The man and women constantly try to undermine each other. The man’s relationship with Billy is no better. A short tempered side of him is revealed when Billy tells him he has lost the money. The man’s proceeds to beat his son: “he stepped back a couple of paces and took of his belt- a wide thick belt with a heavy brass buckle”. The author does not show any signs of compassion between the man and his son We can appreciate how much pressure the father is under

Because he has lost his job and can no longer provide for him or his family. Along with his job he also lost his authority in the house. There is evidence of...