During 1960s Arkansas was going through the stage of racism, poverty, and social class differences. These issues are demonstrated in a narrative story by William Wallis’s novel, Warrant Glen. The story is about seventeen-year-old Will Falke, who is exploring the real issues of the society outside and inside high school. Besides still having issues with his father, he learns about discrimination between colored people, minorities, and white people. On top of that, he is dealing with poverty issues as well. His only way out of misery becomes art. His teachers teach him how to sing and play an instrument. Will uses the music as a stress reliever and gets really involved in performance. This is how he handles this imbroglio. With all the abuse that Will faces on daily basis from the society and his family, the thing that makes him start the next morning is music. One thing that distinguishes Will from most other people in his society is the fact that he does not see any differences between black or white people. Most of his friends were the minorities of the society were other people treated them as those who did not belong among them.
He learns about different social standards towards different races by seeing the two worlds that people created by dividing themselves into different categories, but from Will’s point of view it was only one world to live. From Duane, who was from Korea he learns, “the first is no suffering. That’s it, Will. He said that means that suffering is empty- full of emptiness and if it is empty then it can be filled with something else, many maybe many things” (Warrant Glen 85). He meets some educated black people and from Mr. Marshall he learns that “Black children must also be free of fear” (Wallis 131). This was more than everything his father had ever thought him. Will’s father was a racist and sexist man who thought Will nothing but cursing and bad manners. Will’s father never notices that “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away” (Angelou). He just knew how to abuse his life and those around him verbally and never showing any love. Usually blood relatives love each other dearly, but sometimes it gets complicated when the family becomes involved in poverty issues.
In Warrant Glen’s story, Will loves his father or at least that is what he thinks. As a child, he remembers listening to everything his father had to say and assumed this was how a bond was formed between a father and a son. “There is a tendency y for the memory to cling to the negative and this is certainly the case with my memories of my father. He was, I thought, not only intelligent, straight-laced, prudish and strict, but mean-spirited, bigoted, racist, sexist and to some degree paranoid. I do not feel that I would ever have learned what father love is from him, but I may be wrong” (Selected Essays 103). Ever since his father went overseas, his relationship with his father got even worst. Will cannot understand why his father sent letters to his mother and sister but not him. As he started questioning his relationship with his father, Ray, Will noticed “he had no idea when his father’s birthday was” (Wallis 27) and does not really know a lot about his father in general.
“When will listen to his own inner voice, he remembered his father’s curse” (Wallis 89). At first he tries to think he doesn’t hate his father but he just cannot remember any good memories with his father besides the fighting and constant yelling. With all of these horror memories, Will’s point of view changed towards his father thinking perhaps he hated Will. He doesn’t want to hate his father but he doesn’t have any other choice. When Ray left to go overseas, every single thing around had its “own rough music to Will, a rhythm and melody he did not miss in Ray’s absence. Even so, they were there, buried in him singing in his ear as he brushed Lady” (Wallis 89). The sad thing is every time he thinks about his father he realizes different things; “Will realized while brushing down lady that he had no idea when his father’s birthday was” (Wallis 27). To some extend that made him feel comfortable and a conclusion; however, “He feared he did not honor his father.
How did a son honor his father? He felt irresponsible sometimes, but he hoped he was not a bad person” (Wallis 27). Nici, his younger sister, received letters from Ray, as did Ruth, his older sister. Will had not received anything from his father. He couldn’t imagine his father in a foreign country, but he had come to realize in the months since ray’s departure that he did not really know his father well and that much that he did know was negative. Every time he thought about his father, he found himself asking questions that only his father could answer. But Ray’s stolid demeanor forbade asking questions. Still, will was brimming with questions that haunted him. Dealing with these thought made it challenging for him to put the issue aside and never think about it again.
Will learns from his father “He was not like his father, he would not curse his children, he would not be like his father, he would not” (Wallis 90). Will beliefs his father has been a constant source of verbal and mental abuse towards his family has had to suffer with for many years, he said. “His views of his father changed that night in ways that he still did not fully understand” (Wallis 89). Will knows what to do to not be like his father and have a successful family. Will Falke has a very challenging life that was abused by not only his father, but society as well. At a young age he learns about political issues, different social standards, how the minorities were treated, and most importantly a way to get away from everything and create a perfect world in his head to look forwards to. Music was the only source of happiness for Will and his teachers were very successful in cheering him on. That is how he mainly handles the stress he faces on daily basis.
Angelou, Maya. “Maya Angelou (Author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings).” Share Book Recommendations With Your Friends, Join Book Clubs, Answer Trivia. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. . Wallis, William. Selected Essays. Sherman Oaks: Ston & Scott, 2008. — Warrant Glen. Los Angeles, CA: Lone Wolf Editions, 2008.
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