Family may be the single most influential element of our lives. They are the people who, through support or neglect, mold us into who we grow to be. They are the people our psychiatrists ask us most frequently about. They are the people we strive to emulate or desperately attempt to avoid becoming. They are the causes of our fondest joys and our greatest disappointments. The short story “Saturday Climbing” by W. D. Valgardson portrays a father, Barry, and his teenage daughter, Moira, struggling to reconnect after a rift has tarnished their relationship. Although issues with their family may be the cause of their problems, it is through their openness and acceptance as a family that they are able to begin to heal. In the short story “Saturday Climbing,” W. D. Valgardson suggests that individuals may be both negatively and positively influenced by family. This can be seen through their seemingly idyllic young relationship, the issues caused by divorce, the poor attempt at reconciliation through rock climbing and Barry’s eventual epiphany to give Moira the independence she needs.
Initially, Moira and Barry have a seemingly flawless family relationship despite his belief that she is delicate. His influence over her is what seems expected of a father and his child; they are happy to spend time together, but he is still her protector. Contentedly, Barry and Moira partake in a variety of activities together such as “going to foreign films, visiting Seattle, [and] beachcombing.” It is explained that “[a]t one time, they had played chess nearly every day.” These activities demonstrate a healthy father-daughter relationship in which the two are pleased to spend time with one another. In fact, their relationship seems to be so close that Moira divulges secrets to her father through her “signal” of “[lifting] her index finger and [rubbing] the side of her nose” to let him know that “she [is] going to impart a confidence or confess a wrongdoing” such as...
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