The bond between parents and children is very important because parents will always have a major impact on the lives of their children with the actions they make. The time period these books are set in the time period we are living in now. In Affliction by Russell Banks and Londonstani by Gautam Malkani, both novels show the relationship that exists between parents and their children. They also show how parents ignore their children which is an emotional factor, are bad role models and lack the basic physical needs a child requires. While parents are supposed to protect and love their children, in these texts, parents are directly responsible for the failures of their children.
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The first person in a child’s life is his parents and whatever he sees them do, is what he will aspire to do. A baby has the mind of a sponge and will suck up anything it sees or hears be it good or bad. It is quite unfortunate that most children are exposed to a lot of bad behaviours which in time they will absorb and also do it, resulting in their failure later in life. Parents should always show good examples but unfortunately they are showing bad examples to their children. For Londonstani it shows a mother and son relationship and magnifies the love a mother has for her son who takes it for granted and later regrets it. Despite her love for Jas, she also has a negative effect on her son through her actions. “My mother be makin decisions for me, thinking I’m stupid, that I cant decide for ma self no more “(Malkani 102). This shows how a mother lies to her son and unfortunately for Jas he knows she is lying. A child that trusts his parents will assume that it is alright to lie and that is how he picks up the habit of lying. Affliction is another novel that depicts the responsibilities of parents for enhancing their children’s behaviour with bad characters and it is about the tragedy of a family and how it affects the tragic hero. The tragic hero within this novel has a huge character flaw, which happens to be his bad habits and behaviour transferred to him by his father. “â€¦ though glen loved sally, he beat her from time to time”(Banks 95). This reveals a father beating up his wife right in front of his children. His son will believe that it is alright to beat up a woman and his daughter will be afraid of getting married so that she does not go through what her mother is going through. The similarity within the two quotes above is that parents set bad examples through their actions on a daily basis. Although the actions performed are different, the actions both lead to bad examples that are inculcated by their children. Another similarity is that the protagonists that are exposed to these bad examples are of the same male sex but the parents are of the opposite sex. Parents tend to do certain things that are wrong with the hope that their children will not do them. “I told you not to hang out with anyone who is not Hindu like us!”(Malkani 85). This is a mother telling her child not to hang out with certain people forgetting that she does the same thing and the child reminds her. On the other hand, some parents do not think their children are watching them which results in the children’s adaptation of what is portrayed by their parents. “Our father was a turbulent man who drank heavily”(Banks 95).This reveals how a child describes his father in a sentence which shows that the child has been observing his father. It is of no surprise that the description of the father can also be used for the tragic hero within the novel of Affliction. It is very obvious from the two quotes that the parents always forget that their children are always watching them and that serves as a similarity between the two quotes. Another similarity is that the children see the behaviours acted out by their parents, begin to do the same thing which constitutes to their character flaw and is also responsible for the tragedy of the protagonists in the two novels. In conclusion, it is clear that parents show bad examples to their children which results in their failure.
In a family the kind of relationship that exists between the parents and children tend to have an effect on the lives of the children later in life. It is either the relationship is good or bad, or the effect of the relationship on the children is either good or bad. In Londonstani the tragic hero experiences a physical encounter with mother and this triggers his actions to do something he has never done before. “Is this the way I bring you up? Like fighter-cock badmarsh ruffian?… You vont to kill me, hah? Is that it? You vont to kill your own mother?” ( Malakani 120 ). This shows the protagonist being told off by his mother and he is propelled to run out of the house and stay out until it is very late. In a family one does not have to be physically present to know what kind of relationship exists between parents and their children. Listening to what children have to say concerning their parents says it all. “Wade thought I wish my father was dead” (Banks 191). That statement goes straight to the point of showing how a child feels about his father. The tragic hero in affliction wishes for the death of his father and without narrating the entire novel it is vivid, what kind of relationship exists between the tragic hero and his father. The two quotes differ in the sense that the first quote cannot be used to conclude that the relationship between him and his mother is a bad one entirely but shows an unstable relationship between them while the second quote can be used to conclude that the relationship between the tragic hero and his father is a bad one. They similarly show that parents are the cause of the kind of relationship that exists between them and their children because a child will not run away from home or hate his parents for no apparent reason. The protagonist in Londonstani is dismayed concerning his mother because he only chooses to love his father more than his mother. The choice he makes is not suppose to be made at all by a child concerning his parents, although a lot of parents tend to do this consciously or unconsciously. “My father once told me, you can either be mama’s boy or daddy’s boy, but you can not be both.”(Malkani 204).The quote shows how a father shifts the love of his son from both parents to himself, making the son detest his mother and love him alone. And this decision does not only result in a bad relationship between the son and his mother but also to the tragedy of the child. So many factors determine the state of a family relationship and most factors are instituted by parents. In some cases it takes only one of the parents to cause an unhealthy family relationship. “His wife and children none the less ran and hid from him”(Banks 98). The fear of a father’s presence has sent his family into hiding and despair and his son happens to possess the same effect on his own family, even when he is not drunk. Both quotes share the similarity that the person responsible for the tragedy of the protagonists in both novels is their fathers, which implies that majority of unhealthy family relationships are caused by men. They also differ in the sense that in Afflictions the father influences the tragic hero through his character and bad habits while in Londonstani the father places a choice for the protagonist to make between him and his mother. Parents should always make sure that they maintain a healthy relationship between them and their children. It is only a healthy relationship that can lead to a successful family.
A child should always be given undivided attention throughout childhood and even up to adulthood because the child’s first mentor is his parents. And they will always run to them when they are confused, ignorant and even when they need a companion. Parents tend to ignore their children without realising it. “But also his mother would not protect him” (Banks 169). This quote shows how a mother who is afflicted by the regular beating from her husband is incapable of protecting her own children from the same fate. She does not defend them despite the fact that she is also going through what they are going through. Her children stand up for her but she does not reciprocate the act. ” If you touch her or me, or any of us, again, I will fucking kill you” (Banks 198). Some parents deliberately walk out on their children even though they are divorced. They turn their backs to their children, leaving them to grow up without an appropriate understanding of Adolescence and Adulthood. This act results in the child’s ignorance of a lot of things about life because there is no life experience to learn from around them in order for them not to make drastic mistakes. “What I think is that he never got enough understanding of hatred, so he made his hate with us “(Malkani 89 ). This shows how a mother walked out on her son and never contacted him unless he needed something from him. Growing up to be a man becomes a challenge for the protagonist. The similarity between the two quotes is that their parents ignored their children in their own ways when their children needed them the most. Wade in Affliction needs his mother’s protection from his father while Jas in Londonstani needs his father to teach him how to be a man and this shows a similarity between both quotes that the two protagonist are in need and look up to their parents. A child must always come first in the heart of a child no matter what. “. . . I lost sight of you for a few minutes, he said. I just had to step out for a smoke” (Banks, 28). This shows how the protagonist in the novel Affliction chooses to leave his daughter alone inside a place she is not accustomed to; full of people she does not know and steps out to smoke. He chooses the cigarette over his daughter, ignoring her completely. In the novel, Londonstani, the tragic hero turns around to hurt his mother after her feels rejected. A child may want to carry out his pain or frustration on another person and it then becomes a cycle of life. “Dont make me show you how I really feel about you” (Malkani 203). This shows the protagonist reminiscing on his behaviour towards his mother resulting from the pain he suffered caused by his father. The first quote shows the protagonist, Wade, ignoring his own daughter after suffering the same thing from his parents while the tragic hero, Jas in the second quote, turns against his mother’s love because of his families rejection. Another similarity that the tragic heroes share is that both heroes took out their frustration on the people that were close to them and part of their family. Parents should always put their children first so that the children will know that no matter what happens the family comes first.
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It is quite unfortunate that a lot of children in the society are highly neglected by their parents. Their parents show off bad behaviours that are scanned by the eyes of their children and stored in their character. In a lot of homes today, a lot of parents possess an unhealthy relationship with their children and it negatively impacts the life of these children. It is more than true that parents are responsible for the failure of their children and it is high time a change occurs in the hearts of parents so that the generations after are not adversely affected, because as time goes on it becomes a trend and cycles from parents to their children and that extends to latter generations.
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