Fly in the ointment

Good Essays
A younger man visits his bankrupt father, who is depressed following the collapse of his business. The son is a disappointment to the father due to his choice of career. The father seems strong until, during their conversation, a fly enters the room, with the father overreacting in an attempt to get rid of this simple fly.
This overreaction is perceived as weakness by the son, and driven by pity, he offers his father some money. Immediately the passion and vigor returns to his father, and the shrewd, cunning businessman reemerges and brutally demands to know why he had not been offered this money sooner.

What does the title mean?
Firstly we should take a look at the title since it could provide some insight into why certain aspects of this story are present. 'A fly in the ointment' is a proverb or saying that basically means that something spoils a situation that could have been pleasant. This is shown in the short story literally by a fly which enters the room and causes such an overreaction by the old man that foreshadows text that shows that everything is not as they seem; things are not alright.

Why the father is such a memorable character:
The young man, the son, is shown in the first paragraph to rather walk a distance than show up in a cab in front of his father since he thinks 'The old man will wonder where I got the money'. This quote is the first sign that shows the reader that the old man is concerned with money.

The author uses two statements to show the demise of the business, firstly '...building a business out of nothing, and then, after a few years of prosperity, letting it go to pieces in chafer of rumour, idleness, quarrels, accusations and, at last, bankruptcy.' The sons questions whether 'they were telling the truth when they said the old man was a crook and that his balance sheets were cooked?' and then secondly, later in the story the narrator shows the son's thoughts when he thinks the father will tell him the embarrassing truth

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Satisfactory Essays

    fly in the ointment

    • 665 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The Fly in the Ointment Author vV.S. Pritchett (16 December 1900 – 20 March 1997) was a British writer. He was very well known for his short stories that were collected in number of volumes Tone & Mood Tone: Realistic, pessimistic Mood: Sad, desolate Background The background is about a son who wants to help his dad that has just gone bankrupt. vEverything from the factory was taken away by the creditors, however there is a sign outside the factory which is freshly painted…

    • 665 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The fly in the ointment

    • 372 Words
    • 2 Pages

    THE FLY IN THE OINTMENT V. S. Pritchett (IGCSE Literature English 2013) Important Points to Remember Journey – Father: leaving the factory, money, the business man. The Irony at the end: that he cannot get rid of this, of the “dark side”. - “Tow faces”: father cannot let go of his vice / “dark side”. The cynical end of the story shows this dark revelation to the son. - Theme: Man’s struggle for survival. It is a unique and personal journey, not all struggles are the same and have…

    • 372 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Fly in the Ointment

    • 1072 Words
    • 5 Pages

    English Commentary: Fly In The Ointment Q. How does the writer bring out the atmosphere in Fly in The Ointment? A: The story *Fly in the ointment* , written by V.S. Pritchett ,focusses essentially on a critical father-son relationship where the father and son are solely supportive of each other outwardly and have lost all respect for each other. The setting of the story is that of the 1930's, which was a time of great economic depression in England, specifically in London- which is the hometown…

    • 1072 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Fly in the Ointment

    • 594 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The fly in the ointment He decided to take the subway. He clutched the black suitcase tight, the suitcase that did not belong to him, and walked towards the deep green stairs leading to the underground station. Every step he took down the stairs was like walking – step by step – towards a transportable coffin. Once he arrived inside the subway of a coffin, he found a spot furthest to the left where he could be partly anonymous. Usually, the subway was stuffed with people this time of day, yet, not…

    • 594 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    fly in the ointment

    • 1273 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The fly in the ointment 1. Explore the condition of the Factory and of the father as the son arrives The condition of the father and the factory when the son arrives where regrettable, it was hardly for the son to recognize the factory, as there was nothing inside it. As seen in this lines: ¨this had been the machine- room, before the machines where gone. Moreover through the factory are empty shells, the sign outside the entrance to the factory is freshly painted and the brass plaque outside the…

    • 1273 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Theme of DISAPPOINTMENT In Pritchett's short story, the father shows his disappointment in a stoic fashion. His business is going under and his son comes to offer his moral support. 'We've cleared everything up. They got most of the machines out today. I'm just locking up and handing over. Locking up is quite a business...Worrying? You keep on using that word. I'm not worrying. Things are fine,' said the old man, smiling aggressively. 'I feel they're fine. I know they're fine!' The father…

    • 279 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Acasia Ointment

    • 4104 Words
    • 17 Pages

    The Antibiotic Action of Acacia Leaves and Barks Extract as Skin Ointment against Staphylococcus Aureus Proponents: Khrisnelle C. Mendoza Ferry Rose C. Paulo Veronica Luisa T. Porwelos Hershey Joy A. Rivera Laurence Lee F. Relao Isiah Zyrus D. Siega A Scientific Research presented to the Science Department Constancio Padilla National High School Division of San Jose City Nueva Ecija in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the subject RESEARCH II March 2013 INTRODUCTION…

    • 4104 Words
    • 17 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    (Oregandi Ointment)

    • 1365 Words
    • 6 Pages

    conducting this research is to help people to limits in buying too expensive ointments from a drugstore. You can make your own ointment at home out of lagundi and oregano leaves but with some medicinal qualities or uses. You must fry first the chopped leaves until crisp then second Strain it. Add the grated candle to the oil. Heat over low heat until the candle way is melted. Mix it well. Last, transfer to the ointment jars before the mixture hardens. I recommend my project to those people who…

    • 1365 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Malunggay Ointment

    • 1047 Words
    • 5 Pages

    of Vitambeta-carotein C, protein, iron and potassium. The leaves are cooked and used like spinach. In addition to being used fresh as a substitute for spinach, its leaves are commonly dried and crushed into a powder, and used in soups and sauces. Ointment is one of the medicine that can cure wounds. The procedures are all the materials will be gathered. Leaves will be pounded .Pounded leaves of Malunggay will be extracted. The extract will be boiled. Boiled extract will then be cooled. The boiled…

    • 1047 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    tube. Then, three drops of acetic anhydride and a drop of concentrated sulphuric acid. A green or blue-green color reaction means that the extract is positive of triterpenes and sterols. This also means that the extract is ready to use in making the ointment. In making the experimental product, the researcher will first use the decoction method to get the needed extract from the Mayana leaves. In decoction, the leaves will be…

    • 907 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays