Charles 'Relationship In Homer's Odyssey'

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1. What does Charles give his father for his birthday and why is this significant? Charles gifts his father with a high-end knife, “three blades and a corkscrew, pearl-handled” (29). He values Cyrus’ “devil[ish]” and “wild” nature and cherishes the fact that he and his father share an affinity toward defense and strength (14). He tries desperately to connect with his father, therefore portraying the knife as a lack of knowledge regarding other parts of Cyrus’ personality. He never understood the underlying care and love that Cyrus had for Adam, a bond never present in Charles and his father’s relationship. The knife represents Charles’ stabbing jealously of his brother and his desire to defend himself against his lack of paternal love and…show more content…
This marks a shift in the brothers’ true feelings about their father. There is a paradox between Charles and Adam’s feelings about their newfound affluence. Charles originally trusted and idolized his father, but is the first to believe that he stole the money, leaving him feeling “puzzled and dull” (59). Adam feared his father as a child, but trusts that Cyrus did just what he said and was just where he said (69). The shift in the brothers’ attitude towards their father represents the effects of Cyrus’ careful crafting of his sons through military involvement or lack thereof. Adam gained a sense of trust and bravery he never possessed before, while Charles became more compassionate and less explosive. Cyrus’ death validates his sons’ inherited natures. The possibility of dishonest practice demonstrates the fall of Cyrus as a godlike figure in the eyes of Charles, the son who always “[fought] for his love” (70). Steinbeck humanizes each of the characters through transgressions to establish that life outside of the garden is not perfect. Mistakes and sins plague even the most honorable…show more content…
It takes strong guidance and religion to make people with “rightness in the face of all opposing wrongness” such as Liza Hamilton and Cyrus’ first wife (42). There is also a sense that people who consistently behave morally lack human nature; Steinbeck conveys that sin and transgression is natural both inside and outside of the garden. There is a paradoxical result of nature and nurture, namely in the cases of Adam and Cathy. Adam was raised in a loud, militant household without the support of his family for most of his childhood. As a child he had a “silent and respectful” demeanor and never fought or misbehaved (17). Cathy is a stark opposite, raised in a supportive household with two parents who loved and trusted her unconditionally. Even as a girl, she was the embodiment of inherent evil, a “malformed soul,” committing all of the seven deadly sins before reaching maturity (72). In this way, Steinbeck demonstrates that nature and nurture are not the deciding factors in a person’s character or in their

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