10 October 2010
“Welding with Children” is a short story that illustrates thematic ideas from beginning to end. Throughout the story, Bruton, an older redheaded man with papery skin, shows that his parenting skills have suffered, and he is embarrassed with how he raised his four daughters in the past. With his daughters now grown, the reputation of their upbringing still haunts him. Examples like Bruton’s car being referred to as the “bastardmobile” show just what type of reputation he is dealing with. Though as the story progresses, Bruton shows change. Through a series of epiphanies or awakenings, he realizes he can’t undo his previous mistakes, but believes he can redeem himself by parenting his grandchildren the correct way, all while welding with children. From the beginning of the story, Bruton shows his carefree attitude on things that are considered important to most people. After dropping out of college in his first semester, he states, “ I may have flunked out that semester, but I got my money’s worth learning about people that don’t have hearts no bigger than birds shot” (Gautreaux 200). His attitude shows he has no drive to fix problems. In an interesting way, he sees some sort of accomplishment from his failure. This attitude is similar to how he raised his children. He knows he messed up, but feels he can do nothing but live with his mistakes. Bruton continues to show his stagnant attitude throughout the story until experiencing his first epiphany. While driving home, one of the grandchildren Freddy says something that indicates to be a curse word. When asked where he heard words like those, Freddy says he heard it on a late night comedy program. Bruton is enlightened, and thinks back on his four daughters. “None of them has any religion to speak of. The girls grew up watching cable and videos every night, and that’s where they got their view of the world, and that’s why four dirty...