How does Jozef come to view his father in Andrew Krivak's The Sojourn? What does it mean to his coming-of-age? What tragedy occurs in chapter two, and what consequences does it have on the hopes of...

How does Jozef come to view his father in Andrew Krivak's The Sojourn? What does it mean to his coming-of-age? What tragedy occurs in chapter two, and what consequences does it have on the hopes of Jozef's father to finally attain the American Dream? What happens as a result?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In the early half of Andrew Krivak's novel The Sojourn, Jozef comes to believe that his father is a "drunken coward," and this belief leads him to want to brave the Great War, the First World War.

Jozef came to believe his father was a "drunken coward" for a couple of different reasons. First, he realized his father had become an alcoholic, even though alcohol was forbidden in their household. His father's reaction to the lioness hunting their herd also significantly influenced Jozef's opinion of his father. One morning, they hear the lioness attack an ewe, and his father rushes out with his gun to kill the lioness. However, despite being a sharpshooter, his father misses. What seems to be even more pathetic in Jozef's mind is that, when he suggests to his father they follow the trail of blood and asks which direction the lioness ran off in, all his father can do is helplessly reply, "I don't know," because he is in too much of a drunken stupor to have been able to observe which way the lioness ran. As the loneliness continues to go undefeated, his father seems to crumble into a state of terror. Jozef describes his father's fears in the following:

But I could tell that he was beyond cautious or even superstitious of the cat's presence. He was somehow thrown off, as though he hadn't expected such an adversary to encroach on his mountain pastoral. (p. 31)

Hence, by the time Jozef becomes certain he wants to enlist in the war along with Zlee, he has already come to believe is father is a coward. Jozef, therefore, disagrees with his father when his father speaks out against the war, predicting it to be a failure.

Seeing his father as a coward influenced Jozef's coming-of-age because he became determined not to behave cowardly like his father, which drove him to enlist in the Great War and observe and participate in all of the horrors that accompanied the First World War.

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