What are Bull's strengths and weaknesses as a marine, father and husband?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited down, but I invite you to resubmit it.  I think that one of Bull's strengths as a father is that he believes in the concept of structure and order.  It is difficult to extol his virtues because his vices as a father are far worse and more detrimental, but I don't think that one can deny that Bull believed that a structure for Ben in which success was seen as the only logical reality.  In this, one can make the argument that Bull wanted a structure that would enhance the best for his son.  Yet, I think that this is where it probably stops.  Bull's most glaring weakness as a father is a lack of softness in nurturing his child.   Bull's desire to increase toughness at all costs out of his son increases the distance between he and his son.  At the same time, it helps to create the emotional setting in which the boy wishes to be nothing like his father.  The disdain for "softness" is where Bull's desire to teach toughness at all costs has alienated his son.  There is little hope of redemption in this bond, primarily because Bull has done enough in the name of "toughness" to cause his son to reject any notion of a shared value system.  In this, one can see that the failure of Bull's experience as a father becomes so significant.

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The Great Santini

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