As human beings we are often reluctant to let go of our anger and unwilling to forgive others. This becomes especially true in the case of loved ones or family members. The poem, “How Do We Forgive Our Fathers?,” written by Dick Lourie, addresses the different dilemmas associated with a child forgiving his/her father. In his six-stanza poem, the poet discusses how a child should forgive their father for traumatic events imposed on the child. This includes reasons for forgiveness, appropriate time to forgive, and whether or not to even forgive at all. Detailed through the different stanzas, the poem suggests that until one learns how to appropriately forgive another for wrongful behavior, they will never be able to let go of resentment and
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The poet further emphasizes the above statement in line nine, which states, “For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?” With the same reasoning, this line uses the contrasting view of divorce to solidify the fact that the father was abusive to the mother and she deserves better. Reiterating the same idea further implies the seriousness and magnitude of the abusive relationship.
In the fourth stanza of the poem, the poet depicts the true personality of the father and displays additional traumatic events the child tolerated as a youth. In the tenth line it states, “And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?” The fact that he is a cold man who shows an excess of warmth at times leans towards the idea that he recognized his faults and tried to correct them in a false manner. In doing so, it becomes apparent that the father was not a loving and caring man and over exaggerated his affection in a clever attempt to disguise his emotionless state towards his family. Line eleven says, “Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning.” The term pushing may refer to the father being overly aggressive and pushing the child to be or do something he/she does not want to. Leaning may refer to the father’s preference in wanting his child to be something their not; both of which, imply that the father was a bully and never fully accepted the child for who he/she was. Lines twelve and