In My Fathers Life by Raymond Carver I learned that Raymond Jr is an alcoholic, has the same name as his father, and an inability to settle. These are all traits that he has in common with his father. I will further discuss the things that children learn from their parents and take with them throughout their adulthood. In the beginning of the story we are told of the common names between Raymond and his father. I got the impression that he did not like having the same name as his father. I base this assumption that he doesnt like having the same name as his dad on when he said: I hated the Junior part.
Another reason I say he didnt like having the same name as his dad is when he put this information in his story: When my wife answered the phone, my mother blurted out, Raymonds dead! For a moment, my wife thought my mother was telling her that I was dead. Then my mother made it clear which Raymond she was talking about. Why would Raymond include this in his story unless he disliked it. I think this is a way of inadvertently expressing his dislike for having the same name. Raymond was always confused with his father. I think he didnt want to be like his father.
During his childhood and later on in life he would strive to be his own person. Raymonds father was an alcoholic, and he was an alcoholic even before Raymond was born. His mother met Raymonds father coming out of a tavern. I think Raymonds drinking problem was inherited. Raymond would always see his father drunk, and he even tried some of his fathers liquor when he was younger. Raymonds fathers death was even caused by his drinking problem.
When a child grows up in an environment like that it is more than likely the child will also have a drinking problem. Raymond had a drinking problem, we find this out when he says: at a time when I found myself, like my dad, having trouble with alcohol. Raymond took to alcohol to escape the problems of his life just like his father did. I think the alcohol made dealing with life easier for Raymond and his father. Raymond and his father both moved a lot.
Raymonds father moved around looking for work. Raymonds dad seemed like he had to be the provider but at the same time became bored quickly and thats why he moved so much. His constant moving is made evident by this statement: But I think, in the main, that my dad had grown restless and simply wanted to try his luck elsewhere. Things had gotten a little to predictable for him in Yakima. Unlike Raymonds father he did not move around from boredom, but I think he moved around so he could support his family, this is made evident when he says: During those years I was trying to raise my own family and earn a living. But one thing and another, we found ourselves having to move a lot.
Raymond and his father are alike in these ways. The only time that I could see any feeling from Raymond was when his father died. Raymond had unresolved issues with his father. Raymond was not able to tell his father these things or even say goodbye before his father died. Raymond took to examining old pictures of his father to try to figure out who he really was. Raymond would take these picture with him from move to move until one move he lost them.
The loss of the picture may symbolize closure on his father and his death. One picture in particular he tried to remember by writing a poem called October. October was not the month that his father had died, but it is a dreary month and he did not want to remember his fathers death in June. Raymond realized that his father was not as strong and brave as he portrayed himself.
Raymonds father in fact was kind of helpless and weak. It took years for Raymond to figure out that his father wanted to be strong for his family