“It is much easier to become a father than to be one.” — Kent Nerburn
Being a true father is never an easy task. As for Tom Garrison, a dynamic character in the
play I Never Sang for My Father by Robert Anderson, his traumatic childhood memory of being
abandoned has made it even more difficult for him to be a good father for his children. Those
painful memories did turn him into a strong, remarkable man, but they also made him become a
selfcentered person and a pathetic, unloving father.
Steel that has gone through the hottest fire is the strongest one. Likewise, the hardships
Tom had to endure as a child toughened his soul and sharpened his mind. Abandoned by his
alcoholic father, Tom lived in “a miserable tworoom tenement” (Anderson 650) with his mom
and siblings. The situation went from bad to worse when his mother passed away, leaving her
little children uncared for. Tom, who was just 10 years old at that time, forced himself to
overcome grief and to hold himself together for the sake of his siblings. He even shoved his
father off in the funeral of his mother and worked arduously to fend for his family. While other
children at his age are enjoying their lives, he had to sell newspaper five hours a day, and at night
he dances a jig in saloons for pennies (Anderson 674). Despite having a gruesome childhood,
Tom grew up into a successful and wellrespected man. His determination and will of iron helps
Tom [him] go through his horrendous past, accomplish more than anyone would expect, and lead
the life he had always craved. His wife, Margaret, also compliments him: “He’s a remarkable
man,” and “Everything he’s done, he’s done for his family” (Anderson 644).
However, the compliments and respect he has received makes Tom a ...