The Man of the House

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This is a short story written by Frank O’Connor, an Irish. The story has partly depicted beliefs of Catholic faith which is commonly practiced in Ireland.

Applying the omniscient point of view, this story uses the presence of cathedral and the act of asking for a miracle as a last resort to symbolize devotion and faith. Candles may symbolize for hope.

This story was focused on a ten-year old unnamed boy. His character is torn between being a child and being a grown up. He is a picture torn between either to act responsibly or irresponsibly. His lack for a father figure, influence how his character acts and thinks. In this story, he is the one who stands as “the man of the house”. This is reflected in the line, “It’s a funny thing about women, the way they’ll take orders from anything in trousers, even if it’s only ten”. His character is taking the burden due to a father.

Yet in some parts of the story, his childhood characteristics were also portrayed. Children depend on their mothers and this characteristic was shown in young Sullivan’s character. “… I lay awake, thinking of what would happen to me..” – this is just one of the lines that depicts how the young boy worries losing his mother.

At first, Mrs. Sullivan was sickly portrayed while the young Sullivan was healthily represented. Prior to their health, these two characters took an exchange of role.

Social status was presented in this story. The portrayal of their house, Mrs. Sullivan’s “economical” used of sticks for the coalhole, their long-winded call for a doctor and some scenes of the story illuminates the character’s low social status. In general, it shows the burden of single parenting in which consequences are both experience by the parent and her child. The story seems to picture school for young Sullivan as if it was a thing of the past.

This story was narrated in a dark atmosphere. The condition of his mother made it gloomy. The sunlight that the young Sullivan felt turn out...
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