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

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Identify a theme for Pritchett's "The Fly in the Ointment."  

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One theme could be expressed by a cliché—like "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" or "A leopard can't change his spots."

In reading V.S. Pritchett's "The Fly in the Ointment," it is plain to see that the two main characters are extremely different. From the first page, we note that the son (Harold) has no desire to bring the topic of money up to his father.

Better not arrive in a taxi, he was thinking. The old man will wonder where I got the money.

We discover that money is a major cause of strife. And yet, the son puts things into perspective and decides that none of that is important at the moment.

Suddenly all the money quarrels of the family, which nagged in the young man's mind, had been dissolved. His dread of being involved in them vanished. He was overcome by the sadness of his father's situation.

As the father prepares to close the business, Harold arrives to offer moral support. We also learn, however, that the father has little respect for his son as a general rule.


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