Key Themes of Father and Son

Key Themes of Father and Son

Father and Son
By Bernard Mac Laverty

Key Themes

Important ending
- Sums up the ironic nature of the relationship.
- Climax
- Creates huge sympathy for the Father and Son
- Reveals the harsh reality of life in Belfast at this time
- Dual narration leads us to believe there is potential of the relationship being mended and so makes ending more dramatic and more shocking.

Lack of communication
- Acts as catalyst to all of their arguments.
- Dual narration + lack of communication reveals the ironic nature of the relationship and increases the pathos of the situation.

- Conflict in Belfast at the time echoes the relationship.
- The son wants to break away from his father. The father reacts by trying to keep him close but the more he does so, the more conflicts arise between them.
- A lack of communication acts as a catalyst to all of their arguments.

- Similar, nostalgic memories and dual narration reveal the irony of the relationship
- The ironic similarities throughout increase the pathos of the situation and make the ending more dramatic.


The son describes how the father will “want a conversation” but how he will pretend to sleep.
- Spiteful feelings towards father are apparent
- Establishes poor health of the relationship
- Fist point in the prose that the prose deals with the problematic lack of communication.

“This is my son who let me down. I loved him so much it hurts but he won’t talk to me”
- Spiteful feelings towards son are revealed
- A sense of regret is apparent
- It is clear from the father’s unanswered attempts to communicate and his feelings of love for his son that he wishes the relationship between them had been and would be without conflict, healthy and open.

The dual narration at this point is effective as it presents the viewpoints of both characters equally and so we are given a full picture...

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