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In "Wordsmith" and "The Gold Mountain Coat," contrast the relationships both...

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user3498849 | eNoter

Posted June 5, 2013 at 4:19 PM via web

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In "Wordsmith" and "The Gold Mountain Coat," contrast the relationships both fathers have with their children. Thank you so much.

“Wordsmith” by Susan Young and “The Gold Mountain Coat” by Judy Fong-Bates 

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted June 16, 2013 at 7:39 PM (Answer #1)

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In "Wordsmith" by Susan Young, the father who has one daughter is a quiet man. He has few words to prove his love. Instead, he shows his love by filling in the cracks in the walls of his daughter's fifty-eight-year-old house. No doubt, the father works diligently to make repairs to the the old house of his daughter. The daughter describes what she witnesses about her father:

From the sidelines I watch as he
trudges up and down the stairs, carrying
with nonchalance an industrial-sized bucket,

Clearly, the father in this poem is a dedicated father who works hard to prove his love for his daughter. Even though he may not express it in words, this father's actions speak volumes:

he fills and smooths and sands
as filling in all of the empty crevices
with the words he didn’t know how to say,

Truly, this daughter realizes that her father does not know how to express his love vocally. This father has little to say, but the daughter recognizes that her father has so much love through his actions:

whose love keeps him moving
from room to room,

In "The Gold Mountain Coat' by Judy Fong-bates, the Chinese father who owns a Chinese restaurant does not express his love for his sons. He does not show his emotions. He seems to be selfish and uncaring about the well-being of his sons. The two sons share one coat because the father will not buy another coat.

The sons have worked hard for their father in his Chinese restaurant, but they cannot approach their father to ask for things they need. John keeps his father's earnings in his pocket, but he cannot even buy himself a coat which he desperately needs. This agitates John:

'I carry all his money in my pocket.” He
patted the front pocket of his pants emphatically before continuing. 'And I have to ask permission to
spend it. What right does he have to object? I work hard.'

The Chinese father does not express his love to his sons. Even though his sons work hard for him in his Chinese restaurant, the father does not share his earnings with his sons. The two sons have to share one coat because the father will not buy another coat. 

Finally, John gains the nerve to ask his father for a coat:

'...Father, we have only one coat. The weather
is very cold. We need to buy another coat.'

Immediately, the father's face hardens. He is not pleased with the necessary request of his son who is simply asking for a much- needed coat. The father sees his son's request as a bold action:

His face slowly hardened at the boldness of his son’s
request.

While the father eventually gives in and agrees to buying another coat, the father agrees only after Ken blurts out that the grandson will need a coat and he can grow into the second coat the father buys.

Clearly, "Wordsmith" and "The Gold Mountain Coat" offer two descriptions of two very different fathers. Both fathers are quiet men. Both fathers seem to work hard. The difference in the fathers is in the way they express or don't express their love for their children. In the first literary selection, the daughter's father expresses his love through his actions. He repairs his daughter's old house which proves how much he loves her. In the second literary selection, the Chinese father is stingy. He does not share his money with his hard-working sons. Even though the sons work hard in their father's restaurant, the father does not seem to appreciate their hard work, not even enough to make sure both sons have a warm coat. 

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