How do adults treat children in The Human Comedy? Cite at least two examples, and consider whether this treatment is realistic. What larger ideas and attitudes might Saroyan be trying to...

How do adults treat children in The Human Comedy? Cite at least two examples, and consider whether this treatment is realistic. What larger ideas and attitudes might Saroyan be trying to communicate through this depiction of adult/child relationships?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Adults treat children very respectfully and as equals in The Human Comedy. For example, in Chapter 3, Mr. Spangler, Homer's boss at the telegraph office, asks Homer how he likes working at the office and then reassures him that he shouldn't be afraid to deliver telegraphs at night. Even though Mr. Spangler is Homer's boss, he is more invested in helping Homer grow than in pushing Homer to work harder. In Chapter 12, Miss Hicks, Homer's teacher, tells him that she has only punished him because she likes him and wants him to realize that he can get along with Hubert Ackley, even though they are from different classes. Miss Hicks is far more interested in educating her students and helping them grow personally than she is in punishing them. 

The adults' treatment of children in these examples could be read as unrealistic, as it is far more idealistic than that of most adults. Saroyan is trying to convey an attitude of respect towards children and the idea that adults should not just regard children as workers to exploit or pupils to discipline but as human beings who need moral and social guidance. 

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The Human Comedy

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