What advice does T.J.'s Dad give him about Mike and Kristen in "Whale Talk"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

T.J.'s Dad counsels,

"You protect people in the moment they need protection, or ahead of time. But not after. After, you work with them".

T.J. witnesses the aftermath of a situation where Kristin is beaten by Mike. T.J.'s gut reaction is to take things into his own hands, and give Mike a taste of his own medicine. T.J.'s Dad tells him this would not be a wise reaction.  He points out that if T.J. does carry out his plan to try to "teach Mike a lesson", it will be T.J. who will be "committing a crime", and, unlike Mike, who will never go to jail because Krisitin will not press charges, he will have to pay the consequences. Also, if T.J. does go after Mike, it will not teach Mike anything because Mike, being the type of person he is, will "immediately turn it racial and respond by hurting somebody else". Kristin also will not benefit if T.J. wreaks physical revenge on Mike. She has the propensity to allow herself to be a victim, and actually played a big part in getting herself in a dangerous situation.

T.J.'s Dad says that "what's done is done", and that "nothing short of (killing Mike) is going to change the way he treats people". If T.J. were to ever find Kristin in imminent danger,he should of course respond to save her, but in the meantime the wisest course of action would be to work with her so that she will learn not to allow herself to be in that kind of situation again (Chapter 11).