Sunday In the Park - Essay
What is the point of being a parent? Is it to patronize and make decisions for your child? Decisions they were not able or interested in making themselves? Is it to shield them from the world and all its awfulness, or is it simply too prepare them for it? Whether we like it or not, the world is a hard and rough place and children need to figure this out… apparently. That is the basic message in “Sunday in the Park”. How should you handle situations that you are not ready for? Because whatever you do, the child will most likely see this as appropriate behavior.
In the story we meet an unnamed woman, her husband, Morton, their son Larry, a brute and his son. The two boys are playing in the sandbox, when suddenly the unnamed boy throws sand at Larry. The unnamed woman – being the protective mother – tells the boy to stop. The boy’s father however, has a bit of a different look on the scene, as he tells his son that he can do whatever he wants. Now, here is where the story’s core lies. Most people are afraid of conflicts and will avoid them at all costs and this calm family is no different. They are used to fixing things with words, not violence, so this man – who clearly has no intend of being any kind of reasonable – frightens them. This man’s reaction towards Larry’s parents is aggressive. His son sees this, sees that it is, indeed, working and copies his father’s actions. We kind of have a Mexican standoff situation, where Morton and the brute are standing face to face with their sons watching. Whoever walks away as victor, the boys will see as the one who makes the decisions - even if the child does not know this person. The fact that the illusion of the indestructible parent has been crushed is enough to make the child contemplate the things they have been taught.
The parents are affected by this as well. When they find out that the brute is looking for a fight of some kind, they are quick to retreat, even though their son is screaming