Anne Tyler's classic novel, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
In Anne Tyler's classic novel, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, the
reader experiences a variety of conflicts between parent and child,
one of the most apparent being that between Pearl Tull and her eldest
son, Cody. These two characters never seem to see eye to eye, as Pearl
prefers to see only the negative aspects of her children. Cody never
truly relates to Pearl and her manic ways. As the conflict unfolds
between Pearl and Cody, the deeper meaning of the story is revealed;
there is never a perfect family, but nonetheless, theirs is a family.
As the first child, Cody is expected to excel and be the ideal son. He
establishes a rebellious personality once his younger brother Ezra is
born. Because of this brotherly competition, he and Pearl never really
get along. Whether or not they even truly loved each other is an idea
to be questioned. Pearl doesn't like the idea that Cody might, for
once in his life, be better than Ezra. The reader sees this in chapter
2, when Pearl insists that Ezra try to shoot an arrow, " 'Let Ezra
try,'" Cody's mother suggests. ...'Let Ezra try,' Pearl calls again.
'Beck? Let Ezra try.' Ezra was her favorite, her pet." Throughout the
book the reader sees Pearl's scorn and disdain towards Cody when she
should love their first child like nothing else in the world. The
reader wonders why Ezra, the second child, is superior to Cody.
Pearl's unabashed affection for Ezra results in Cody's delinquency and
self-imposed removal from his family.
Cody never liked going home to visit his mother, even though she
seemed to encourage him to do so. In this aspect, the title carries
heavy significance, "homesick" is actually translated to being sick of
home. Simply, this is how Cody feels, he can't stand to be at...