Father to Son Summary

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The summary of father to son poem by Elizabeth Jennings is given here. The poem Father to Son is about the loneliness a father shares and wishes he was closer to his son. This poem shows the need for an ideal relationship between children and their parents, which is diminishing in this modern world due to the generation gap.


Father to Son Line by Line Explanation

Here is the stanza wise explanation of the poem father to son.


Stanza 1:

In this stanza, the narrator tries to express that he doesn't understand the thoughts and feelings of his son. He wishes to achieve a friendly and close relationship with his own blood – his own son. He says that we have lived under the same roof for many years, but he fails to understand his own child- his own thoughts, feelings, and actions. He doesn't understand a thing about his son and has tried to build a healthy relationship with him when he was small and innocent.


Stanza 2:

The poet uses 'I' in the poem to express his deep sorrow. He says that this person is his child and blood, but he is yet to recognize him. The narrator says that his child is built like him and is similar to him in all physical attributes, but still, he fails to recognize him. The father adds that he gives efforts to build a relationship, but all his efforts go in vain.


Stanza 3:

The father explains that there is an air of painful silence between his son and him. He only wishes for things to go back to how they were. He wants his son as his own. He adds that even if his son were prodigal, he would welcome him to his home with open arms. He sees his son making his own world and completely alienating his father. His father only wishes for his son to make a move and solidify a grateful relationship based on mutual fondness.


Stanza 4:

At last, the narrator makes his piece and says that both father and son have to live under the same roof. The son, for the first time in the poem, says that even if they communicate, they fail to understand each other's values and happiness. The son states that his anger and resentment to his own have now transformed into grief. He too yearns for a healthy and close relationship with his father; his suffering emerges from this very disappointing. He adds that both of them try to forgive one another and move on but fail to do so.


Summary of Chapter Father to Son

The poem father to son by Elizabeth Jennings sheds light on the troubled relationship of a father with his son. The poem Father to son is like a letter by the father to his son containing all his misgivings and doubts regarding a damaged relationship. The father wants a close and communicative bond with his son and wants to be a part of his happiness.


The narrator is ready to forgive all his misgivings of the past and wants to welcome him with open arms. He wants a part in his new versatile world and wants an equal share of all his happiness. In the last stanza, we see the son's perspective on all his father's dilemma. Thes on in his alibi states that his anger is drawn from his sadness and grief. He is at a point in life where he is trying to find a name for himself like the father must have done at his son's age.


Both of them long to hear and communicate with each other; they wish to make another happy and eradicate communication. As readers, we feel that communication would help them, but we fail to take into account the ingrown differences and prejudice of years.


Conclusion of the Father to Son

This poem by Elizabeth Jennings sheds light on the damaged relationship between a father and his son and shows the yearning to be close to his son. The father is concerned about his son and doesn't want his son to make his own world. Both son and father want to improve their relationship and forgive each other but unable to do so because of the generation gap and misunderstandings between them.