Ironweed by William Kennedy
The book Ironweed is a very complex and, quite frankly, depressing book. It is about a man named Francis Phelan. He was once a major league baseball player, but now is a street bum. He has been without a home for 22 years now. There are many issues that lead to Francis being in his miserable condition. He had a wife, Helen, and three children; Gerald, Billy, and Peggy. Only Gerald and Billy are influential in the story. The book is about Francis dealing with his troubled past and trying to move on. There are many layers to this novel, including the themes, point of view, and setting. The themes in this novel really deserve to be analyzed more than what is first thought. The three major themes in the book are the father and son relationship, the concept of home, and survival. All three themes seem minor when you read the novel, but then you analyze Ironweed these themes really stick out.
There are many themes in Ironweed. For many, the realization of one theme leads to another one. There are many themes, but one of the most crucial is the father-son relationship. Francis killed his first newborn child, Gerald. He was holding him and Gerald slipped out of his diaper. He was killed instantly. Francis never told a soul of this event, because he could never get over it. He has not yet forgiven himself. This greatly affects his life. Also, his other son, Billy, doesn’t talk to Francis. They had a fall out and now are no longer close. In this novel, Francis realizes he must talk with his son and meets up with him, trying to reconcile his lost relationships. Francis changes drastically in this book, because he realizes he has thrown relationships away with his drinking and anger. He tries to fix them, because he realizes the importance of the father-son relationship. Another point about this theme is that Francis absolutely loved and admired his dad. He was his role model. Francis’s mother was cold, and never gave Francis the love his...
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