Birthday essay - Lee 1 Tom Lee Professor Leong Asian...

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Lee 1 Tom Lee Professor Leong Asian American Study R2A 22 September 2010 In the beginning of the story, Wallace was blinded by his feelings to Welby. He could not see the fact that neither Frank nor time would allow him to reestablish the relationship with the boy. Although the boy was no longer the child he had known months ago, Wallace could not recognize this change. However, as the story went on, Wallace gradually noticed his weak connection to “his son”. In the end, the narrator finally accepted the reality and realized that it would be better for him to move on. This alter in mind set finally woke Wallace from his impossible dream and allowed him to seek other opportunities to make a new family. As a result, Wallace stayed true to himself and was able to establish an identity that was not defined by either Frank or the child. In the story “Birthday”, written by David Wong Louie, Wallace, the main character, changed from a person who was blinded by his feelings and fantasies to a man who could accept the reality and identify himself by his own standards in it. At first, Wallace could not see that the law would not allow him to become the boy’s father. Although he knew that he had “no rights except those that come with love” (122), the narrator still believed that he was the boy’s “father”. He believed that since “the boy calls [him and Frank] both by [their] first names” (122), they were “equals”. This idea was one of the factors that kept Wallace trapped in his fantasy. The court ruled that Frank, the biological father, should have legal guardianship to the boy, but Wallace believed that the boy’s feelings, rather than the judicial judgments, should decide who could be the father. And since Welby liked him more, he thought he should be the one.
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Lee 2 Wallace also would not recognize the fact that Frank, the biological father, would not allow him to get close to Welby. After Frank had said, “Come on, give me a chance. Leave us alone, okay? He’s starting to get used to me” (126), Wallace saw that Frank “wasn’t going to hand the buy over” (126). However, he still persisted in seeing Welby by proposing “a trade” (127). The concession of getting “the boy for the afternoon” (127) showed how deluded Wallace was. Although he knew that Frank would not let him near the boy, he still tried to get the child by any means possible. At this point, the narrator still wanted to realize the idea of reuniting the family with Sylvie and Welby, despite that this was impossible as long as Frank was around. Not only was the narrator unable to accept the truth that he could not get to Welby by law or through Frank, he also did not recognize how much the boy had grown. To illustrate this, Wallace had thought that “[he] had the wrong room” (128) when he went upstairs to find the boy. He said that “it didn’t look like a child’s room. At least not one the boy’s age” (128). Wallace was unwilling to believe that this was the boy’s room, even though he knew that it was.
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Birthday essay - Lee 1 Tom Lee Professor Leong Asian...

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