Many men in the society usually strive to achieve recognition of their manhood whilst some even do the unthinkable in a bid to attain manhood. Consequently, some people think that one can only achieve manhood through being violent, controlling, inconsiderate, and unkind. Nevertheless, some men are blinded by their pride and hatred and thus fail to realize that real manhood can also be achieved through the greatest acts of humility and humanity. In trying to understand this concept, Theodore Roethke’s poem “my papa’s waltz” and Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” will be used in this paper. Roethke’s “my papa’s waltz” talks about a young child’s experiences with his father. From the poem, it is clearly evident that the author is in a dilemma since he has both feelings of resentment and love for his father, and this is due to his father’s actions. For example, one of the lines reads “the whisky on one’s breath is capable of making a small boy dizzy” hence this signifies resentment. Conversely, in another line it is stated “the boy cling to his shirt while being waltzed off to bed” thus this portrays Roethke’s affectionate feelings (Llanas 21).Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” deals with different issues including class conflicts, a father’s actions and also vengeance (Faulkner 35). Sartoris’s father dislikes the wealthy class in the society and hence decides to burn their barns. Additional, he disregards his wife and children and often becomes violent. Thus, the paper establishes that the manhood cannot be achieved through being violent and authoritative but can only be achieved by the simple acts of humility.
Apparently, the events that unfold in Barn Burning in effect make apparent the fact that manhood cannot be achieved through authoritative means or rather being a controlling father. Apparently, the qualities acquired by Sartoris Snopes from his father in no way represent the true nature and definition of manhood (Llanas 15). By definition, manhood entails portraying qualities and a personality that in effect present humility, determination, vigour and courage. Considering that his father use authoritative means to instil manhood into his son, the son consequently end up acquiring bad qualities that are fundamentally not related to manhood. The above establishes the fact that manhood cannot be achieved using measures that suppress the esteem of others. From this story, Snope through his suppressive means plans to Burn the Barn of De Spain. As a way of accomplishing his desires, though Snope perceived his actions as justified and accredited (LIU and Shi-rong 328). The consequent results affect his family negatively a fact that goes contrary to the definition of manhood where a man is required to protect and take care of his family.
Apparently, opting to become authoritative, and a controlling father in the aftermath affects one's family rather that give you respect as a father (Faulkner 24). The above is made apparent in the story at the instance where Sartoris begun seeking peace away from his family where his father controls and use violence as a means of solving issues even the family issues. Apparently, manhood is in no way achieved by Snope through the means of violence and destructive measures like burning the Barn. As the story develops, the author of this story establishes or rather make apparent the fact that violence means as a father foster negative perceptions of people towards you and does not portray manhood in any way.
Subsequently, the irreducible minimum lies in the notion and concept that the benchmarks of manhood must be allowed to blossom and be achieved in a free state of affairs or circumstances. It goes without saying that fathers are supposed to lead their sons and their male protégé’s into the path of masculinity through self-realization and actualization. Achievements such as being a good family man, admiration, the concept of power and the right kind or amount of masculinity could only be achieved under the right care. Thus, for the right kind achievement relative to manhood, the child or protégé must be guided and lead into a path of self-choice and free will without coercion of whichever sorts.
For instance, the poem My Papa Waltz, there is the underlying and principle notion that the Papa or the father always portrayed tyranny by exhibiting total control or authoritarianism. There is the intuition and assertion that the papa always had rough hands, a battered knuckle or the in the conventional sense and approach. It is important to note and record that in the traditional sense and aspect, the male were expected to show painstaking masculinity in the sense of ruling with an iron rod. The above was however a contrast and a contradiction to the viewpoint that the son saw and held the father. For instance, the children or the son in this case did not relate masculinity or manhood to any of the abrasive characteristics exhibited by the papa as a sign of manhood. On the contrary, the son found himself in the feminine role because the authority of papa was not guiding enough to the roles of manhood.
Subsequently, power for the children is related and shared down to the sons or the children in general. It is to say that the actions of the children are usually sanctioned and controlled by the men or papa in this case. All the actions and activities of the children ranging from what to eat, how and when to go out amongst many other things depend on the mercies of the men (Roethke and William 21). In all aspects and fairness, this phenomenon of continued control relieves the child or the son off the chance and the opportunity to be able to make independent choice or decisions. Thus, when the child grows into an adult, it would become practically impossible for a child to know how to be an independence man or experience independent manhood.
Tentatively, it goes without saying that the child learns about all the things that the father or papa tells and directs him to do. For instance, the Poem My Papa Waltz demonstrates that the son at all times lay close to his dad’s belt. The above is a symbolic intuition to imply that all the things that the son saw the father do, he would do them in equal measure. If the son saw the father dizzy then it is almost certain and accurate that the son would follow suit and do the same. Comparatively, if the son is used to the idea of being controlled by Papa to the effect of how to eat when to go out amongst many other decisions. When child grows up to ages of manhood, it will be difficult to become independent. All the other aspects of being dizzy imply that the father may have been alcoholic or drunk and thus the child would follow suit.
In conclusion, it is apparent in the essay above that manhood can only be achieved by respecting other people and their property. In addition, the father ought to act with courage determination and show esteem for his family. Apparent from the two pieces analyzed herein is the fact that all fathers that were violent and aggressive in no way exemplified manhood.
Faulkner, William. Barn Burning: Short Story. S.l.: HarperCollins Canada, 2014. Internet
LIU, Ke-dong, and Shi-rong LIN. "Sarty’s Initiation in Faulkner’s Barn Burning." Journal of
Literature and Art Studies 3.5 (2013): 327-331.
Llanas, Sheila G. Contemporary American Poetry-"not the End, but the Beginning". Berkeley
Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2010. Print.
Roethke, Theodore, and William De Witt Snodgrass. My papa's waltz. Bluestem Press,