A Father's Actions in "He Was a Boxer When I Was Small"

Essay by sosodef_87College, UndergraduateB, October 2006

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The negative influence factor which radiates from father, Don, in Lenore Keeshig-Tobias' essay, "He Was a Boxer When I Was Small," is a great example of how a parent's actions can brainwash and alter their children's future decisions in life. Author Keeshig-Tobias grew up in a miserable household raised by her feared, alcoholic father, who held frequent temper tantrums in order to establish his parental authority. Don has many flaws that make him a bad father, including his temper, ignorance, and immaturity. As a result of Don's juvenile actions, his daughter, Keeshig-Tobias, becomes susceptible to retaining his bad characteristics throughout the rest of her life. While an important part of Keeshig-Tobias' childhood was learning to better understand her father's actions, a relentless danger is that she will misinterpret his wrong doings and reason enough rational sense to substitute these actions for the ones she believes are correct.

Don used boxing as a way to leave behind the stresses of his family life.

He strongly believed that boxing would give him the courage, strength, motivation and commitment he needed to be successful. Although boxing seemed to be a sport to which Don could relate his life to, when it carried over from the ring to become part of the household, it often led his family, especially Keeshig-Tobias, to "[cower] every weekend waiting for him to erupt" (Keeshig 278). As a child, one thing that Keeshig-Tobias remembers well is that her father's "thundering rages [were] most vivid" (277). Separating his deep passion for boxing inside the ring, and his family life outside the ring, proved to be a dire problem for Don. Keeshig-Tobias not only experiences the effects of her father's weekly, ill-mannered tempers, but she also feels fear for her mother believing that "[her father's] prowess in the ring must have...