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The Impact of Parents on our Protagonists (Essay Sample)


The task involved describing the impact of parents on our protagonists, with reference to Brian Lee\'s \"Lost at Sea\" and Nick Hornby\'s \"About a Boy\". The essays assesses the parental influence on the protagonists in both texts, Marcus and Raleigh respectively. It is clear that the relationship between parents and their children shapes the way the children relate with others in their environment. Both Marcus and Raleigh have difficulties fitting in the society due to their strained relationships with their respective parents. Marcus is uncomfortable with other children at school because his mother keeps telling him to avoid whatever they do. Similarly, Raleigh is unable to make friends because her mother keeps warning her about them.

The Impact of Parents on our Protagonists
Parents wield a considerable influence over their children. This is reflected in literary works where children characters take on the role of protagonists. The thesis of this essay states that relationship between children and their parents shapes the way the children behave and relate with others. More often than not, children with a problematic relationship with their parents often find difficulties relating to their peers. On the other hand, children with a good parental background often have no problems getting along well with others. This essay will make reference to two texts, Lost at Sea by Brian Lee O’Malley and About a Boy by Nick Hornby.
There are several similarities and differences in the influence of parents on the protagonists in these novels. The protagonist in O’Malley’s text is Marcus while Hornby presents Raleigh. Conveniently, the former is a boy while the latter is a girl. First, both protagonists lack proper parental care. Lack of parental care has a negative impact on the behavior of both protagonists. Marcus can hardly concentrate at school, and, more importantly, finds difficulties relating with his peers: "Marcus knew that he was different from other kids of his age" (Hornby, p.4). Raleigh is in a similar quandary. She knows her mother sold her soul to the devil but she just cannot bring herself to telling her friends about it. In fact, the thought of talking to anybody frightens her.
Secondly, both suffer emotional disconnect from their parents. Lack of emotional connection with their parents affects the way they relate with them. Raleigh is tormented by her missing soul however, she cannot open up to her own mother due to the emotional disconnect between them. Consequently, she feels anxious and lonely: "Maybe all these desperate clashing feelings I’m feeling are just random brain activity, maybe I’m just delusional" (O’Malley, p.64). She knows there is something wrong about her but can’t bring herself to discussing it with her mother, or anyone else for that matter.
Marcus, too, is a lonely boy. He feels out of place at school and would rather keep indoors. "He was quite happy at home…." (Hornby, p.6). Though he finds peace at home, he is not free with his mother. This is because his mother puts at loggerheads with other children by constantly advising him against all the things that other boys do. Marcus cannot listen or watch what other boys watch because its rubbish according to his mother. Consequently, Marcus feels isolated from the rest of the world around him. It also affects his education as he finds school an uncomfortable place to be.
Thirdly, both parents are obsessed with their children. Marcus’ mom, Fiona, keeps a close tab on him, controlling not only those he interacts with, but also his thoughts and behavior. As a result, the boy also gets interested in his mother’s life. He plays match-maker between his mom and Will, a friend of his. He wants the two to meet and begin a relationship. He has a soft spot for Will because, unlike other men, Will does not drink and is not given to violence. Nevertheless, the real motive behind Marcus match-making antics is the fact that he is craving for somebody that would understand him. He has been living a lonely life but finds Will an understanding man. To have him next to him, Will has to marry his mother. Similarly, Raleigh prefers not to make any friends because she has her mother.
On the other hand, there exist various differences between the two protagonists. To begin with, whereas there is a certain degree of enthusiasm between Marcus and his mother, the same is absent from the mother-daughter relationship between Raleigh and her mother. Marcus inwardly cares for his mother and even understands some of her feelings, for example, when she cries at times. Raleigh, on the other hand, is totally disconnected from her mother. Raleigh does not even understand the kind of job her mother does; thus, taking about in an unenthusiastic manner. This can be attributed to the fact that Raleigh has no soul.
Another contrast exists in the way the two protagonists interact with others. Raleigh actually has friends though she does not really cope with them well. This is because the friendship is forged out of convenience. This happens when she learns that her soul rests in one of the cats that keep following her wherever she goes. This is because she has known no tenderness and therefore cannot extend it to others. Marcus, on the other hand, finds it impossible to interact with his age-mates. He has absolutely no business with others. This is because his mother has spent most her ...
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