Emily and Gerald in “The Golden Darters”: Analyzing Their Contrasting Perspectives & Relationship
Often literature explores the dynamic theme of family relationships. The short story “The Golden Darters” by Elizabeth Winthrop analyzes the relationship of Emily, a preteen girl, and her father, Gerald. The short story takes place at their summer house, where the two characters build fishing flies together. The contrasting ways that Emily and Gerald use and perceive the flies directly shows the ironic way in which both view their relationship with the other. Gerald employs the flies as a tool for him and Emily to bond over and strengthen their relationship, and Emily involuntarily complies. In contrast, Emily does not view the flies as a way for her father and her to bond, and actually uses the flies as a device to express her maturity. Ironically, Emily’s manipulation of the flies to express her independence from her parents opposes Gerald’s main purpose for the flies — so Emily and him can spend time together. In essence, the flies symbolize Emily and her father’s relationship. The way they both utilize the flies shows the irony of their relationship because Gerald tries to employ the flies as a way for them to come together, while Emily, ironically, uses the flies for independence — which brings the two farther apart. Gerald implements the flies as a way to bring him and Emily closer together in a controlling and insincere way, which gives insight into him and Emily’s relationship. Although Gerald has a good purpose for the flies, ironically, he uses them in a controlling way in order to force Emily to spend time with him. Gerald is always “ready to start” building the flies, no matter if Emily wants to or not (344). In addition, Emily “never [feels] comfortable” building the flies with Gerald, but he still makes her sit down and build them because he wants them to spend ...
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