If my brother read “Digging” by Andre Dubus, I am sure he would be able to relate to him. My father was stricter towards my brother than me. I think it was because he wanted my brother to have a strong personality and be a “man”.

I feel that my brother and Dubus had similar experiences. Just like Dubus’s father took him for professional wrestling matches, my dad did the same for my brother. In fact, he made sure my brother went for Karate classes so he knew how to fight and defend himself. “In summer he took me fishing with his friends; we walked in woods to creeks and bayous and fished with bamboo poles”(74). My dad enjoyed fishing and he always asked my brother and I to go with him. My brother went with him several times and enjoyed the sport.

There were times when my brother would be upset or sad about something but he never approached dad as he did not want to look weak or unmanly in front of him. He did not want to disappoint our father- just like Dubus “If I had spoken I may have wept. When I was a boy I could not tell a man what I felt, if I believed what I felt was unmanly”(77).

Otherwise, while reading the essay I could feel Dubus appreciation towards his father for raising him up. I could see that he loved his father and hated disappointing him- “He never yelled for long, only a few sentences, but they emptied me, as if his voice had pulled my soul away from my body”(73) and “The fear of it was part of my love for him”(73).

Dubus also understood that whatever his father did for him was for his own good. Like, when his father wanted him to get a job when he was only sixteen years old so he could value hard work and money. On his first day at work, when Dubus fell sick and threw up and saw his father at his work place, he thought he was going home, instead his father took him to buy a hat. This shows that his father didn’t want Dubus to give up and instead value hard work. Dubus understood that and he worked hard to earn the respect. If this similar situation happened with another sixteen year old, there’s a high possibility that the child would be mad at his father for not understanding him and forcing him to do something which he didn’t want to do.

I enjoyed reading the essay as I could sense Dubus appreciation towards his father. I also understood the pressure Dubus faced to be a well rounded person as my brother faces similar pressure for my father as well. However, I know that brother understands our fathers intentions and whatever he does and says is for my brother.

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2 Responses to Digging

  1. thaque29 says:

    I thin that for many sons, they share a strange relationship with their fathers. My relationship with my dad was quite different that the one you described for your brother. However, I have seen this appreciative, yet somehow detached relationship between fathers and sons. Teaching the value of hard work, and to persevere is an important lesson for anyone. However, I think teaching that at the expense of a personal relationship isn’t the right way to go about it. I have seen many successful daughter-father relationships, because they are able to have an emotional relationship that many sons cannot. I feel like commenting on the nature of fathers and their sons is tricky. People hold their family dear, and even when a member of the family may have faults, others may be unwilling to acknowledge that. I think I will end by saying that there are fathers who set excellent examples for their sons (and all children in general) by impressing the importance of good values, hard work, and maintaining self-worth. I have also seen fathers who take an emotional interest with their sons, are concerned with the mental toils of a teenage boy, and find ways to appropriately respond to it. I have also seen, however, fathers that pretend that vulnerability is a thing that men do not have. That boys should become a well-defined shell able to deal with situations devoid of any feeling.

  2. Julie Lavalliere says:

    I really liked your post. I can tell that you really related to that essay because of your brother. I like the part when you said that any other sixteen year old boy would have been mad at his father for taking him back to work, but Dubus was appreciative that his father did his. I feel the same way about my father. He may be harsh and very strict most of the time, and when I was younger, I hated that. Now, I realize why he was like that and I appreciate it because he shaped me into the person I am today.

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