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Write about how one character from Morris Lurie's 'Pride and Joy' is presented and how this character develops key concerns in the story.

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Introduction

Jacob Goering September 24, 2005 Write about how one character from Morris Lurie's 'Pride and Joy' is presented and how this character develops key concerns in the story. Billy in Morris Lurie's 'Pride and Joy' is initially presented as a 16 year old boy who literally lives his life in the footsteps of his abusive, irresponsible, bohemian father, Ned Mathews. By the end of the story Billy's character has undergone a transformation to become his own person; he has broken away from his father. This short story is told in first person narrative by an anonymous narrator. This narrator is a tourist on an island in the "Great Barrier Reef" who tells his account of his encounter with millionaire Ned Mathews and his son, Billy. Through his characterization of Billy, Morris Lurie conveys themes of self realization, responsibility, judgment, and parenting. This essay will show how Billy's characterization develops Morris Lurie's themes. Wealth, ownership, control and his desire for his father's approval shows how Lurie, through his characterization of Billy conveys his theme of lifestyle choices. Ever since Billy and his father come to the island they act like they own everything and everyone on it. When they go to eat breakfast in the morning, Billy deals with the "very pretty" waitress like she is a prostitute, "'What's ya name, honey? he said 'Why?' said the girl. ...read more.

Middle

The repetition of "I though" in both quotations creates an effective link of the two quotations. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the meaning of the two quotes are linked and that the narrator is wondering if Ned Mathew's own 'ride and joy', his son Billy is already better at living the life of a spoiled, rude man than Ned Mathews. This is ironic because Billy is just a boy, so of course the narrator wonders "How long can he keep it up?" Another example is, "'When are we going to have some real drinking, Dad?'... 'I thought you told me we was gonna have some real fun.'" Billy's arrogance and the awkwardness of having an adolescent talking about drinking with his father really shines through here. He is almost criticizing his father because he has not had any "real drinking". Lurie employs dialogue and colloquial diction such as "we was" to make the conversation sound even more out of place. Lurie's selection of alcohol as a motif in the story is important because alcohol has negative connotations and is illegal for adolescents to buy. By associating Billy with alcohol Lurie is implying that the life he is living where alcohol is a daily part of his routine is not suiting. ...read more.

Conclusion

Directly after his father tells the bartender to get "off his fat behind" and give a bit of service Billy says, "Yeah, shake it up there." This quotation creates a nice image of the typical clich� where a father says something and then his son repeats it. Except Billy is mimicking a very offensive and inappropriate thing that his father just said. This shows the reader how Ned Mathews is a inconsiderate role model and a poor parent. Through Billy's actions Lurie also shows that Billy is not prepared to live the lifestyle of his father. "The boy I noticed had to take a breath half way down." This quotations refers to the fact that Billy cannot drink all of the beer in one "gulp" when his father can as proof that his father's life is not necessarily appropriate for him. This concern of Billy not being suited for his father's life is restated by the narrator when he wonders, "How long can he last?" Through Billy, Lurie is able to express his themes and concerns in an interesting and realistic manner. The themes and concerns developed in 'Pride and Joy' may appear to be very simple and obvious but that by no means makes them less important. Themes such as self realization, responsibility, judgment, and parenting are very significant in everyone's lives. ...read more.

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