Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Silver Dish- Saul Bellow

            “A Silver Dish” by Saul Bellow is about a man named Woody Selbst’s love for his father and his family. In the story Woody’s father, Morris, has recently died. Woody spends much of the story reminiscing about his past, and considering the role his father played in his life.
            Much of this story reminded me of Huck Finn, but the character that most resonated with me was Woody’s father Morris, or Pop as Woody calls him. This man reminded me very much of of “Pap”. Morris, just like Pap, was a thief, liar, gambler, cheat, and all around conman. He didn’t think twice about taking his own son’s savings and leaving him and the rest of the family on welfare. After Morris gets Woody kicked out of Seminary he maintains that he did him a favor.  He tells Woody “It was too strange a life. That life wasn’t you, Woody” (page 10).
            All of this considered I thought it was interesting how successful Woody had managed to become. Through his tile company Woody is able to take care of each member of his family. He even travels to many places like Japan, Istanbul, and Kenya. Woody is in essence a very selfless man. Unlike Huck Finn, Woody clearly has a love for his father. He takes care of him down to his final moments. I think the final paragraph on page 10 gives a very good explanation of why Woody loves his father so much.
I think if Huck Finn had an alternate ending where Huck grows up, he would be very similar to Woody Selbst. Woody never denies the fact that he probably very similar to his father. Instead, he accepts that fact and tries to take as good of care of his family as he can. 

1 comment:

  1. After Class-
    Woody may be generous to a fault. He has taken care of everyone his entire life. He doesn't see these individuals as unique people. He seems to just consider them all a part of the collective group that he takes care of. In reality Woody is very isolated and alone. Looking at Woody from the perspective of a child who has been through divorce, I can certainly identify with his situation. He wants to keep everyone separate in order to maintain the peace in his family. He has a separate day of the week for each family member just to ensure they all stay happy.

    Throughout this story we can also look at all of the things Woody's father does as the "Greater Good". The family is put on welfare, but during the Great Depression that would mean they get food, which was a major issue. Getting Woody kicked out of seminary could also be seen as him doing what was best for his son. Woody's father, himself was sacrificed for the greater good of his family.

    Is Woody doing all of the things he does out of the goodness of his heart? Or is he a little bit crazy for doing the things he does? Even though Woody has maintained a relationship with his entire family, they do not necessarily do him any good. Of all of the people in Woody's life he has the best relationship with his father; the one who left him. Throughout the story Woody had done everything his dad wanted him to do, but in the end he tries to prevent him from dying. Woody's father always made his own decisions while Woody was never able to.