Plot Point Photos – “Father and Son”

In the short story, “Father and Son”, written by Bernard MacLaverty we are introduced to a family of two. Although they are father and son, they do not have much in common other than the fact that they live together. Ever since the mother in family passed away, they drift apart, both have personal conflicts, and a conflict between them. The father in the family wants to talk to his son and bond with him like they used to. Unfortunately he has severe anxiety and lacks the initiative he needs to really have a conversation with his son. The son, has his own problems and a life outside the house albeit, a dangerous one that possibly has to do with drugs. He does not want to deal with his father because he believes he is a coward. This story ends in tragedy as the father and son don’t end up communicating until the bitter end.

1) Exposition
“I know that in a few minutes he will come to look at me sleeping. He will want to check that I came home last night” (MacLaverty 165).

This quote establishes the emotional and physical setting by stating that they are at home and by showing the disconnect between the characters. They show this by telling us the son’s thoughts; his thoughts show that he is pretending to be asleep in an effort to avoid his dad. It also tells us that the dad cares about his son and wants to check on him.

2) Initiating Incident
“If I leave him alone he will break my heart anyway. I must speak to him. Tonight at tea. If he is in” (MacLaverty 166).

This quote tells us that there is conflict between the father and son. Not only that, but it shows that the father wants to take action. It also demonstrates that the fathers seems to be putting off the conversation for a later time; this means that the father is nervous about talking to his son.

3) Rising Action
“Your hands shake in the morning, Da, because you’re a coward. You think the world is waiting round the corner to blow your head off…Son you’re living on borrowed time. Your hand shook when you got home” (MacLaverty 167).

This is when the conflict is getting more complex. We now see more layers of conflict. The son thinks his father is a coward and the father worries for his son’s well-being, but neither of them are actually speaking. The characters are starting to develop along with the conflict.

4) Rising Action
“For two years I never heard a scrape from you…Watched scenes from London on the news…I know you son, you are easily led…’I had to go and collect you. Like a dog’”(MacLaverty 167).

We are shown more information that adds more layers to the conflict. This quote adds more to the conflict between the father and son by bringing up past events. We see that the father and son have been having issues for a long time and continue to miscommunicate. The conflict thickens.

5) Rising Action
“The door swings open and he pushes a hand-gun beneath the pillow” (MacLaverty 169).

This quote foreshadows what might happen to the son. The father questions his son’s life outside the house because he saw the gun. This action shows that the son is in danger, or could be bringing harm to others. We can clearly tell that the climax is nearing.

6) Climax
“There is a bang. A dish cloth drops from my hand and I run to the kitchen door” (MacLaverty 169).

This is the highest point of interest and where the main event unfolds. We know that the son is in danger and how the relationship between the father and son might end. The story reaches its peak and from here begins to fall.

7) Falling Action
“Not believing, I look into the hallway…My son is lying on the floor…The news has come to my door” (MacLaverty 169).

This shows the father confirming what happened to his son and we are nearing the end. We begin to understand what happened and loose ends are tied. The conflict has been resolved.

8) Denouement
“I take my sons limp head in my hands and see a hole in his nose that should not be there…My son, let me put my arms around you” (MacLaverty 169).

The concluding sentences in the short story. This describes and confirms what happened implicitly. It also shows the end of their relationship after all the hardship between them. The father lost his son and the story has ended.

Character Sketch – Two Fishermen

Michael Foster is the main character in Morley Callaghan’s, “Two Fishermen”. He is described as a, “tall, long-legged, eager young fellow” (Callaghan 1). He lives on the countryside and works as, “the only reporter on the town newspaper, The Examiner” (Callaghan 1). He is eager to work and is great at his job; it is easy for him to get information from others thanks to his friendly and soft spoken nature. He continues to work in this small town, but has ambitions of building up an impressive profile, so he can, “go to the city someday and work on an important newspaper” (Callaghan 1). Concerning wealth, Michael seems to be in the lower-middle class, as he is still young and just starting his career. He also seems to have a high school to college level education because he is good at asking questions and writing reports.

Michael is not in any romantic relationships, but is liked by the town’s people and acquainted with several people like the sheriff. He also began a friendship with Smitty, who is a hangman, when they fished together. During this time, Michael interviewed Smitty to get information on the Thomas Delaney case for the paper. This event proved that Michael can manipulate others into giving the information he needs. Michael is easy-going and doesn’t like hurting others feelings, but is afraid to stand up against the town’s people. He is afraid because he does not want to be judged, or become another target for the town’s people. This fear is what led to the betrayal Smitty felt when Michael didn’t stand up against the town’s people and let one of them throw one of the fish Smitty gave him. Despite not doing anything about it, Michael does believe the way they treated Smitty was wrong.

Capital Punsihment in “Two Fishermen”

Canada used to use capital punishment but eventually took it out of the Canadian Criminal Code in 1976. When it was first introduced in 1865 it was used for criminals who committed rape, treason or murder but this changed as time went on.  In the early 60’s rules changed to only use capital punishment for premeditataed murder or the murder of a police officer, warden or guard. Then the last executions were carried out and as I mentioned before, capital punishment was taken out of the Criminal Code in 1976. According to this history, if the short story “Two Fishermen” written by Morley Callaghan, were taking place in Canada it would’ve likely taken place in the 1940’s or 1950’s because that was before there was any rule change on capital punishment.

Continuing on from “Two Fishermen” Thomas Delaney was put on death row for murdering the man who molested his wife. I do not believe he should’ve been put on death row because this crime was emotional, his crime does not merit death row (according to modern rules) and after spending a long time in jail he could likely change and know what he did was wrong. Delaney really could’ve spent about 20 years in jail instead of being killed because what he did was out of emotion for his wife and after that amount of time he could regret what he did and it’s not likely he would kill anyone again (assumed from the fact that he murdered for a specific reason that is not likely to repeat).

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