The Brocken Chain

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"The Broken Chain" by M.F.K. Fisher talks about abuse and angry beatings of helpless people. Fisher states that she can only associate herself with these people through empathy. Fisher then goes on to tell her own story about her childhood and the many different forms of abuse she endured. Fisher tells of three specific forms consisting of physical, mental, and emotional abuse.

Fisher describes her childhood as a fair one, but she also tells of frequent discipline. She states that her father was the main disciplinarian in the home. Her mother would wait until her father would come home from work to relay the bad acts that the children had done during the day. Fisher especially dreaded this, and at times wished that her mother would just whack her so it would be over with. Fisher speaks of her emotional abuse by telling how her father would send her to her room for awhile before he would come up stairs to carry out her long awaited punishment.

She would go to her room and think over the events that lead her to her fate. She was full of anticipation and despair for the things to come. She knew that her father would soon be there to carry out the spanking she so solemnly dreaded. In her mind this was punishment enough.

Fisher spoke of hearing her father coming up the stairs to give her the long awaited spanking that she had been dreading. But it had become a routine to her. Her father would sit on the edge of the bed and she would pull down her panties exposing her bare behind. She would then bend over his knees while he would spank her with a wooden hairbrush. Fisher explains that as she got older her father would use his hand with an upward slap that was more painful then the hairbrush ever was. The number of slaps she would receive was calculated by her age. She tells of how she would cry a little to show that she had learned her lesson.

Butler 2 Fisher also received mental abuse as a child. There were many times that she took punishment for her sister's wrong doing. Fishers little sister most often told her how foolish and unclever she was. She would tell her how stupid it was for her to take the punishment for her bad deeds. It was made clear to Fisher by her parents that she was to set an example for younger siblings.

Fisher goes on to tell a story about her fathers rage and abusive way towards her one day when he came home for lunch. She tells of her cousins being over and how everyone had just finished eating. Fisher's father noticed the youngest child still sitting in the high chair all alone. He told Fisher to go and get the baby down, and this made her angry. She did not want to stop what she was doing. She stomped over to the high chair and carelessly removed the tray. Upon doing this the baby dumped out of the chair and onto the floor face first. Her father was so angry at this act of reckless behavior that he jumped up and without thinking he slapped Fisher so hard across the face that it sent her flying into the sideboard. She was so embarrassed and angry about this violent display of anger towards her from her own father; That she picked herself up off the floor and retreated to her bedroom. She sat there and thought about the events that had just happened for a little while. In a precise routine her father joined her in the room. He stated to her that her mother wanted her spanked. She bared her bottom and bent over his knees in the same order she had always done to receive her spanking. When her father finished spanking her he told her that it was the last time he would ever hit her or any one else out of anger.

Fisher states that she has never been abused! It makes me wonder how she can say that, for she clearly states in her story three different types of abuse she received on a regular basis. She tells of her emotional abuse by having to sit in her room and wait in anticipation for her father. She tells of the mental abuse she received by being told how stupid and foolish she was for taking the punishment for her little sisters bad deeds. And she also speaks of her father's spankings and the harsh slap he gave her across the face that sent her flying into the sideboard. If these aren't forms of abuse I don't know what is. I guess it has to do with your perspective of what's acceptable and what's not. And what's considered discipline and what is considered abuse.