Trust and family relationships are the two main themes in the short story “Crossing” by Mark Slouka. The story tells us about a father, who is going through a tough period, and his relationship to his son. He wants to obtain trust from his son trough a trip in the nature but runs into some challenges on his way. The father in the short story takes his son on a trip to a place at a river, because he wants to get closer to him on this trip. We get hints throughout the story that the father is going through a tough period after he divorced or separated from his wife. “And he hadn’t been happy in a while.” (5). His mind indicates that he did something wrong in their relationship and that he knows it. “My God, all his other fuckups were just preparation for this.” (135). We can tell that he cares a lot about his son because when he picks him up at his moms’ the text says: “He threw him over his shoulder, careful not to hit his head on the corner of the TV.” (17-18). He also wants his ex-wife to notice that he is being careful with their son, so she can see that he actually can make something right. “Maybe - maybe he could make this right.” (20). We get a feeling that the father is easy to shatter because when he sees the river he feels a shock, because the river is much bigger and stronger than he remembered it. He actually considers pulling out. As readers we do not see him as an authority at this point because his anxiety defines him. We do not trust the father’s skills to cross the river with his son on his shoulders, we actually fear both for the son and father. We are not told very much about the son but we get a picture of him being a bit fragile. “He looked over at the miniature jeans, the sweatshirt bunched beneath the seat belt’s strap, the hiking boots dangling off the floor like weights.” (7-8). Maybe he has become fragile and unsecure because of all the mistakes the father has made which has affected the son. The narrator’s technique is to...
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