Despite all the challenges the family in Neil SimonÃÂs, Brighton Beach Memoirs, face, they still remain together as a family and their unity is aided by the characters, Jack and Stanley. Jack is the father figure and makes the decisions for the good of the family and Stanley is a caring, helping older brother to Eugene. Jack and Stanley are positive impact in their family.
Jack, the father, is in control and heÃÂs the one everyone looks to when they have problems. When Nora was offered a chance to dance on Broadway by Mr. Bennetton in her dance school, she asked Jack whether or not she should quit school to dance. When Stanley stood up for the colored janitor at work and his job depended on a letter of apology to his boss, he went to Jack for advice. In both these cases, Jack didnÃÂt just make the decision for them.
Instead, he gave them advice saying, ÃÂItÃÂs not my place to make decisions for you. But I can offer advice. Advice is free. If it doesnÃÂt fit, you can always return itÃÂ (52). Not only does Jack help the children to make their own decisions, he actively tries to keep the family together. For example, Kate and Blanche had a huge fight and Blanche threatened to move out. Jack says, ÃÂBlanche, stop this! ÃÂ Scream at her! Yell at herÃÂ And when you both got it out of your systems, give each other a hug and go have dinnerÃÂ (103-104). Jack is a major element in the unity of the family.
Another character who helps the family dynamic is EugeneÃÂs older brother, Stanley. Although he sometimes has lapses in judgment, Stanley is a good older brother to Eugene. He helps Eugene grow up and Jack notices too because he ways, ÃÂI never knew a thing about girls until my brother taught me. IsnÃÂt it like that with you and Eugene?ÃÂ (123). Stanley comforts EugeneÃÂs fears on masturbation, teaches him tricks to see up girlsÃÂ skirts, and shows him a picture of a naked French woman. HeÃÂs also concerned about EugeneÃÂs future and when he sees EugeneÃÂs report card, he says, ÃÂFour AÃÂs and a BÃÂ ThatÃÂs good. ThatÃÂs real good, EugeneÃÂ YouÃÂre smartÃÂ I want you to go to collegeÃÂ I want you to be somebody important somedayÃÂ Because IÃÂm not. IÃÂm no damn goodÃÂ (85). Stanley helps the family, and helps Eugene in particular to grow up.
All families have the hardheads, the soft-hearted, and the mediators who keep everyone together. Despite the fighting and hardships the family goes through, Jack and Stanley mediate and keep it whole. To coin a corny phrase, theyÃÂre the glue that holds everyone together.
Simon, Neil. "Brighton Beach Memoirs." New York: Plume, 1995.