In Bonecrack, compare and contrast Neil and Alessandro in their relationships with their fathers, in terms of the issues of communication and freedom. 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the most distinct similarities between both Neil and Alessandro in their relationships with their fathers is the lack of communication.  Both Neil and Alessandro are really unable to speak with their fathers from an emotional point of reference.  Both fathers refuse to validate the voice of their sons.  This provides a critical roadblock in the emotional talk or communication between fathers and sons.  The concept of legality helps to provide a critical difference between both situations, as Neville is engaged in that which is legal while Enso is not bound by such a condition.  Despite this difference, both fathers negate the agency and voice of their sons.  Neville uses his own success as a horse trainer and with his stables to presume his son cannot replicate it, while Enso is convinced that his son is no different than any other possession he wishes to own or covet.  In both situations, parental neglect of the emotional domain in which their children live leads to a lack of open communication between fathers and sons.

Such a condition helps to establish how both sons use freedom in order to articulate their place in the world.  Neil is able to continually use agency in defining his own success in accomplishing what he sets out to do and working with Alessandro.  He rejects his father's advice in hiring John Breedon and continues in his desire to make a challenging situation work to his advantage. The stalemate that is forged at the end of the narrative is an acknowledgement of the successful nature of Neil's freedom. In terms of Alessandro, his freedom results in the awareness of the corrupting influence of his father.  He recognizes clearly that his father has inhibited his professional and emotional progress. In breaking away from his father emotionally and embracing the paternal example that Neil represents, the power of autonomy is evident.  In both sons, there is a conscious and clear desire to use freedom as a means to break away from the controlling influences of their fathers.  While the break in both is evident, the death of each father that serves to accentuate this schism is different.  Enso's is a result of violence, while Neville's, a result of natural conditions.  This difference does not detract from how the use of freedom and agency to define one's world is a critical aspect in each son's characterization.

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