4 February 2014
Essay 1: Inferences and Assumptions
The short story, “Sunday in the Park” by Bel Kaufman takes place in a suburban quiet park on a pleasant sunny afternoon. Two families are enjoying the park; the mom, her husband Morton, and son Larry along with another man and his son Joe. This pleasant afternoon goes south when two families with opposing values confront each other, causing the main character, a wife and mother, to assume a stereotypical motherly role. She reacts by passing the conflict on to her husband Morton, operating on the assumption that women should behave a certain way in society. Though the wife has worked hard building a life of contentment on her assumption of what her role should be, there is something inside her, questioning her actions, that is pulled out when a conflict between reason and brutality arise among her husband Morton and another man.
Two inferences toward the end of this short story support the mother’s assumption as subordinate. The first inference is when Larry, the moms son, is crying while being dragged out of the park and Morton, her husband, “irritably” says to her, “Can’t you keep him quiet, for Pete’s sake?” and, “If you can’t discipline this child, I will.” This inference shows the role of the mom to be the primary caregiver; Morton essentially lets his wife know what her role is. On the other hand the wife stands up to her husband’s remarks about “…discipline this child, I will,” and is “shocked” to hear herself say, “Indeed? You and who else?” When Kaufman describes the wife as shocked, we can infer that she is not accustomed to taking in a rebellious role, but rather the role of a stereotypical wife.
The wife’s assumption of her role as a subordinate woman in her family impacts her decisions and worldly views throughout this story. First of all, when the other boy, Joe, first threw sand toward her son Larry she said, “No, no, little boy”...