Summary of Sunday in the Park

Topics: Woman, Abuse, Bullying Pages: 2 (592 words) Published: February 23, 2011
“Sunday in the Park” by Bel Kaufman brings into focus a wife’s resentment against the seeming impotence of her husband against a bully. The husband, Morton, backs off from the other man whose child has been bullying their own little boy. Back home, the wife appears to submit to the logic of non-violence adopted by her husband, but when their child, sickly and fragile, is having tantrums, the exasperated Morton threatens it with punishment. The wife snaps and taunts her husband as the bully did. By tradition, women regard their men as their protector, whether from beasts or other men. They want their husbands to be brave and willing to thwart aggressors at the risk of their own lives. Civilization, however, has softened man : the rule of law has done away with the need for a person to assert his rights by force. The peaceful, non-confrontational type of male has become the norm in our society. Nevertheless, most women still expect their men to be strong and brave, able to defend his family and his honor. By taunting Morton in the manner of the bully when he threatened to punish their son, the wife shows her scorn for the weakling in her husband, her utter contempt for Morton’s backing off from a fight he possibly could not win. Being physically weaker and more vulnerable, women naturally look up to men to perform the more tedious, physically demanding work, to hunt for food and game, to fight the battles in defense of home and tribe, dying if necessary. Down through the ages, society has always had this expectation of men. Primitive society placed supreme emphasis on courage and physical power. Men who proved their superiority in battle or the hunt were chosen leaders. They also took unto themselves the most desirable females, a woman being naturally drawn to someone who could protect her against interlopers or the dangers of the wild, not a weakling whom the people of the tribe looked down upon with utmost contempt. Of course, women would want their men to be...
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