The Fly in the Ointment Questions and Answers
by V. S. Pritchett

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Is the father obsessed with money in "The Fly in the Ointment"?

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Yes, it's fair to say that he is. An obsession with money is what's kept him going all these years, through all the various ups and downs of his business. Even when the going got tough, the one thing that kept the old man from taking his own life was the thought that he could turns things around and make more money. It's due to this obsession with money that Harold, his son, makes sure that his father doesn't see him take a taxi to his factory on its last day of operation. He feels that his father would somehow be humiliated to see such extravagance on display.

The old man claims, somewhat disingenuously, that even if Harold gave him a huge sum of money he wouldn't take it. Yet when Harold offers to raise money for him, his father immediately demands to know why he didn't mention this earlier. Despite his overriding obsession with money contributing to the failure of his business, the old man still hasn't learned his lesson. His innate greed is stronger than ever before and with it, his hatred and contempt for Harold.

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