The Zulu and the Zeide

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Dan Jacobson's "The Zulu and the Zeide," is a story of interpersonal relationships. There are two main relationships and one additional subsequent relationship that move the action of the story. The first relationship is already established at the beginning of the work, while the second two are formed as the piece develops. All of the relationships within the story give insight into the character's lives and feelings towards each other, which consequently moves the story forward. However, in the end these relationships bring the story to a tragic conclusion.

The first relationship is between Harry and the old man, Harry's father. This relationship sets up an introduction to the story by revealing Harry's thoughts of his father's past and ongoing actions. Throughout Harry's life, his relationship with his father was one of "duty." He was always watching over his father, making sure his father was safe and wasn't getting into any trouble. Harry had to constantly watch over his father because his father was always running away. Harry would say, to the people who asked about his father, "all he knew was to run away." Consequently, "dutifulness had been his [Harry's] habit of life." This sets up a "dutiful" relationship between Harry and his father. However, some tension in their relationship is revealed when Harry tells the story about his mother saving money in order to send his father to Africa.

The story describes how Harry's father was supposed to go to South Africa and make a fortune, but instead his father exchanges his ticket and makes his way to South America. In the end, Harry's father makes a new debt for the family when he fails to make any money in South America. In turn, Harry's mother has to take out a loan to bring Harry's father back to the old country. Harry feels that his father didn't perform his "duty," and instead brought more of a bearing onto the family; thus, in the end putting more "duty" on Harry. Overall, Harry's "duty" to his father...
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