Reasonable Discipline: A Literary Examination Essay

1625 words - 7 pages

Charles Foran’s “Kids R Hell” presents an array of experts’ analysis on parenting values concerning child discipline (with Foran’s input on the inaccuracy of each one). He postulates, “To approach every disciplinary decision with the thought that it may prove permanently injurious to your child's wellbeing or your own self-worth is to invite madness into your house.” Ridiculing parents who condemn ever physically punishing children, Foran espouses that a slap on the face when a child misbehaves displays severe implausibility of traumatizing that child or labeling the parent as a child abuser; in addition, he finds the notion of never using corporal punishment preposterous and a sure way not to succeed in disciplining children. Of course, for some parents, such as Okonkwo from Chinua Achebe’s Thing Fall Apart, the line between necessary physical force and child abuse becomes blurred, while for others, such as Reb Saunders from Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, the use of more creative methods of parenting seem favorable. Their unconventional means of parenting—either stemmed or influenced by their occupations—cease in effectiveness when each son becomes older; however, because Reb ultimately dissipates his clearly faulty imposition of silence, while Okonkwo stubbornly keeps his narrow-minded bigotry, one father redeems himself, whereas the other never speaks to his son again.
A lamentable baseball accident, in which Danny nearly blinds Reuven’s left eye, prompts the apologetic culprit to visit the impaired victim—commencing an enigmatic friendship between two people of two rival Jewish sects. Reuven notes that Danny, the son of rabbi Reb Saunders, “dressed like a Hasid, but didn’t sound like one.” To an external degree, Danny’s attire authenticates Didato’s explication of how “parents unconsciously teach kids behavior they have been rewarded for at work” (74): his appearance adheres to his father’s wish of Danny becoming a rabbi as well, and he must study “two blatt” of “Talmud every day” (68). However, Reuven’s observation indicates that his orthodox father’s spheres of influence lack the ability to impinge Danny’s interior; while he understands that he must take his father’s place as a rabbi, Danny acknowledges the job as nothing more than “an inherited position,” hindering him from pursuing his sparks of interest for psychoanalysis and examining “what a person is really like inside” (69). His father can conscript Danny into the life of a rabbi, but he cannot strip him of his individual ideas, interests, or inclinations, elucidating Reb’s limitations of parental prerogative in regards to the fundamental aspects his son.
Correspondingly, Okonkwo’s inexorable, poignant confrontations with Nwoye appear to affect only the façade he maintains to appease his father. Okonkwo’s success at his job—efficiently farm and harvest his yams—garners him the veneration and testimony for masculinity he desperately seeks, leading him to enforce the same life...

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