Birthday new - Lee 1 Tom Lee Professor Leong Asian American...

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Lee 1 Tom Lee Professor Leong Asian American Study R2A 4 October 2010 In the story “Birthday”, written by David Wong Louie, Wallace, the main character, struggles to accept the reality. At first, he convinces himself to believe in the false ideas that he is Welby’s father and that the boy he loves is still the same child he knows. However, at moments when confronted with traces of the truth, Wallace questions the validity of his fantasy. This self- doubting behavior makes the narrator lose control over himself and the things around him. Ultimately, Wallace will give up his impractical beliefs and recognizes the truth. In doing so, he will gain more control. In essence, when Wallace denies both facts that Frank is the boy’s father and that Welby has changed, he has little control over himself and his relationship with the boy. However, after he recognizes both facts as reality and abandons his fantasy, he has much more control over the two. The author illustrates these two ideas through Wallace’s encounter with Frank, his attempt to connect to Welby, and his cake making at the end. Wallace blinds himself with fantasy when he rejects the fact that Frank is the boy’s father. The narrator knows that “[he has] no rights except those that come with love” and that “the court says the boy belongs to the man, the boy’s father”, but he still believes that he and Frank are “equals”, since “the boy calls [them] both by [their] first names” (Louie 3). This idea is what keeps Wallace trapped in his fantasy. Although he knows that the court rules that Frank, the biological father, should have legal guardianship to the boy, he still believes that the boy’s feelings, rather than the judicial judgments, should decide who the father is. In essence, Wallace sees and knows the reality but does not accept it.
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Lee 2 The false belief that he is also Welby’s father weakens the narrator, both psychologically and physically, when Frank is present. “The man” is reality with a physical form. Reality demands Frank have boy, and Frank will not allow Wallace near the boy. Believing in the fantasy that he is also Welby’s father, Wallace loses a lot of control when he confronts Frank, or rather, confronts the reality. First, Wallace can not even deal with Frank over the phone. The narrator “hung up on him” for he “couldn’t talk to someone who used that tone of voice” (Louie 4). This is not even a face to face interaction and Wallace already loses his ability to speak up. The narrator is afraid of revealing the cruel truth that he will not be able to get near Welby again if he were to talk to Frank, and this fear makes him too scared to even talk. When it comes to person to person confrontation, Wallace’s lack of control is even more apparent. Wallace’s being physically weak is caused by the questioning of his unrealistic ideas. For
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Birthday new - Lee 1 Tom Lee Professor Leong Asian American...

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