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Analysis of The Drunkard

Updated on July 14, 2014

And to open....

“The Drunkard” written by Frank O’Connor is a humorous and ironic story about a young boy, Larry, taking his fathers alcohol, and giving his father, Mick, a taste of his own medicine. This story takes place on Blarney Lane, most likely in Ireland. The author’s purpose for writing this story was not only to amuse the reader, but also to show the power of setting an example, for better or worse. He uses his plot, characterization and point of view to express this.

Part TWO.. The twists and turns

The plot has twists and turns and an ending one may not be able to guess beforehand. In the beginning of the story Mick, the father, goes to a funeral for his friend and neighbor, Mr. Dooley, while the rest of the family sees this action as a sign that he will start drinking again. It turns out that their prediction is correct, for Mick intends just that shortly after the funeral. When he turns his back, though, his son Larry decides to try his father’s alcohol for himself, thereby reversing their usual roles and making the father walk in the son’s shoes. The result is an embarrassing public display that the whole street sees. This finally shows Mick what he has been doing to his family, and interrupts the cycle of binge drinking and abstinence.

Source

On to THREE... Any one ask for characters?

In this story there are three main characters: the mother, the son (Larry) and the father (Mick). The mother is a kind, caring, hardworking and tough all at the same time. In the story she yells at her husband for getting her son drunk and then proceeds to hug and kiss Larry. She also works when Mick goes on his drinking binges and when he takes off for funerals. Mick, the father, is a good man with a weakness for drinking. Larry says that he is a thoughtful and kind man when he is sober, and uses his tendency to make tea for others as an example. He also mentions that he saves his money wherever he can, but when he drinks he misses work and causes hardship for his family. He also causes embarrassment for his son, as the boy must drag his drunken father home through the street from the pub. The son, Larry, is a young boy that must deal with his father’s vice. He cares about his family, and is willing to try whatever he can for them, however futile it may be. This is evidenced by his mother’s constant faith that his presence will slow his father’s habit of drinking too much, and his constant willingness to go with his father to try to stop him.

Frank O'Connor

17 September 1903 – 10 March 1966
17 September 1903 – 10 March 1966 | Source

Let us try FOUR.. the point of view.

The story is written in the first person point of view. So we can see things from Larry’s point of view, we even get a look into his thoughts. Larry tells us about the signs that his father is going to drink again, and how he feels when he has to drag his father home. We then get to see his thoughts when he is the one drinking. We see how he thinks he is acting normally, aside from being unable to walk straight, and how he sees how embarrassed his father is, but can’t understand why. This emphasizes how Mick and Larry’s points of view are switched now that both of them have seen what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes.

Chaplin like Drunkard moment

Last but not least FIVE.. to conclude

This is a humorous story that also has a message. “The Drunkard” adds in funny bits about talking to walls and such, but all the while shows that it is hard to actually see another point of view without actually being in the other’s situation. The author also adds another moral point about the effect of one’s actions and examples on others. He skillfully uses the plot, conflicts, characters and their points of view to emphasize his messages.

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