Sarah Vowell is best known for her smart, witty spoken essays she delivers on public radio. One of her writings called, “Shooting Dad”, is a view into her, “lifelong opposition to her father”. In the essay called “Shooting Dad”, Vowell states that “during her teenage years she came from a home that was divided”. She compared her home environment to a Civil War Battlefield. Vowell was a gunsmith’s daughter, and her views on the Second Amendment were completely different than her father’s.
Vowell shares the story, when her father takes her and her sister, Amy, in the backyard to teach them how to shoot a gun. Vowell and her sister are only six years old, and she recalls how holding the gun made her feel small. She states the sound was big, it kicked her to the ground, and it hurt. After this incident with shooting a gun, Vowell wanted to never touch another gun again. Not long ago, Vowell’s father builds a nineteenth-century cannon, from scratch.
She becomes open-minded to the concept, that this is not just a gun to her father. She views the cannon as a “map of all his obsessions”. Vowell explains that if she was ever going to understand her father then shooting the cannon, with him, was her only chance. Total Word Count: 199 During this experience Vowell realizes that she and her father are not that different at all. She views her father and herself as the same. She refers to her father and herself as, “ smart-alecky loners with goofy projects and weird equipment.
Once Vowell begins to open her mind, to the idea that the cannon was not just another gun, she begins to see her father from a different perspective. When Vowell was younger, her view on guns was based off her experience, when she was six years old. She felt it was decided, that guns were not for her. Therefore, this clouded her perspective on guns and all that was associated with guns. Until her father built the cannon and she became open-minded to the idea, her view on guns was distorted. A new idea cannot be grafted on a closed mind, an opening must be made.
Vowell’s father building the cannon was her opening. This allowed her, to have the opportunity to view her father in a different way. Vowell viewed the cannon as “unwieldy and impractical”, just like everything else she cared about. Her view, with the cannon, changes in comparison to what she likes. This shows that she became more open-minded to the concept of her father’s interest in guns. Until Vowell became open-minded, to her father’s view point she could not relate. However, once she could relate, she saw her father in a different light.