"The Rockpile" by Jessica Ruelle
One of the main themes is family relationships. We are in a Protestant family in which the father does not seem to be very often at home. But he still has a predominance in his family's life. John seems to be really scared of him, more than Roy. This is probably due to the fact that Gabriel does not love John as much as he loves Roy, because John is not his son.
Gabriel knows what is wrong and what is right, because he represents God, he is a Reverend. Therefore, he should be a good father, but he beats John and Elizabeth. In fact, it seems obvious that they are in danger from the moment Gabriel is back home. "John stood just before him; it seemed to her astonished vision just below him, beneath his fist, his heavy shoe. The child stared at the man in fascination and terror" (p.15). John stands before Gabriel as if he was before God, the one who punishes you for your sins. Elizabeth uses Delilah as a shield twice: the first time when she comes down to tell Gabriel what happened, and the second time after she has told him what she thought about him. Another point is that both...