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.

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