In the short story "The Father" by Bjornstjerne Bjornson, does Thord's son drown in a climactic moment, or does this happen during the rising action? 

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cathibee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is sometimes difficult to identify the precise moment of a story's climax. To accurately determine where exactly this moment occurs for Bjornson's story, "The Father," it will be useful to discuss several parts of the story.

The rising action is pinpointed, for example, by Thord's intermittent visits to the priest, first for his son's baptism, then for his confirmation, and finally to arrange his wedding.

This pattern changes only when Thord and his son are described as rowing across the lake for the wedding arrangements. This is the first part of the story in which the reader is shown the action itself without experiencing it from the priest's viewpoint. 

However, does this make it the climax of the story? It is certainly an intense part of the plot. However, no significant change occurs in Thord's life at this point. In this way, the plot is still rising, with Thord going through the actions that are normal and required for a father. 

The climax comes only towards the end of the story, when the priest confirms and Thord realizes that his son has finally given him a blessing.

For this reason, the reader might believe that the drowning, although tragic, is not yet the climax of the book.