What Works Assignment 2/25

Schemes of My Father

I would click on the title because it is intriguing.  The word “schemes” sounds mysterious, even more so when connected to the role of a father.  I enjoy reading personal stories, and the title made me understand this author would be writing about his family.

This story does not have any significant news value and I don’t know if there would be any certain paragraph is this story that would be considered the nut graph.

The author uses a soft lead and writes the story in first person.  The whole piece is very descriptive with the author using an abundance of adjectives.  The reader sees what the author is describing in each scene.  Not only does the author describe his surroundings but his feelings.  The reader is able to dig inside the relationship between the author and his father.

The father is obviously very caught up in spending money in order to achieve the portrayal of the perfect Californian family.  He lavishly spends on European cars, houses, tennis lessons, etc.  He gets caught up in such a fantasy of wealth and power that the reader can almost feel the tension of that bubble begin to burst.  The author uses the example of his father having to sell his Lotus Esprit car as way to make the reader understand their world was not as perfect as his father wanted it to be.  The author also spends time in the piece outlining the financial cloud that hung not only over his family but over others who were going bankrupt due to the S&L crisis.

The story also revolves around California as the setting.  Even if the reader has never been to California, the author makes the reader feel like they have.  Not only are the landscapes described, but the people who embody the “stereotypical Californian” the most are also brought to life.  The author uses great detail in describing the clothes and language of the average Californian.  The author creates an interesting juxtaposition of locations by describing where the family used to live (Baltimore, Maryland) to the experience of moving to California.

All of these descriptions from scenery to expensive purchases, leave crumbs to the trail of the real issue: a broken father/son relationship.  The author makes the reader feel his pain of his father’s disapproval when he messes up a game of beach volleyball and when the father is unimpressed by his son’s job teaching at a state university.  The feeling of abandonment is etched into the reader’s psyche as the author describes his father leaving his family to start a different one.

I think it’s important the author doesn’t try to make this story a fairytale with a happy ending.  Instead the author makes it a realistic ending.  The reader does not feel hatred for the father but instead pity because the man never understood he could never buy what the author wanted: a father’s love.

The author uses himself as a source since he is writing it from his point of view.  I like the picture at the beginning of the story showing the father holding his son in his lap.  It gives the reader a visual on what the characters described in the story look like.  However, that is the only multimedia element to the story.  I think a picture of the types of cars his father owned would add to the story since the author describes those cars in great detail.  If there was any type of video from a news broadcast explaining the S&L crisis, I think it would help the reader get a better understanding of why the crisis was such a big deal.  If the author wanted to share more of his personal family photos, I think an audio slideshow would give the story more of an edge.


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