Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    optimistic pessimist is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default He didn't have to give the present any attention

    Dear all,

    The pasage below is from a novel I read last year. McCreedy, the father, asks his son if he has any idea for his father's birthday.

    ...Later in the day, when his son Michael came in. McCreedy stopped him before he went up to his room. He was thirteen.

    "Your mother is wondering what we might all do on my birthday. If you had any thoughts about it...?

    Michael shrugged. It was as if he knew he was untouchable, unconquerable. He was the future. He didn't have to give the present any attention. "No", he said. "Not specially. How old are you anyway?..."

    I'd like to ask about the sentences in bold. Who do you think said or thought "He was the future. He didn't have to give the present any attention."?

    The narrator? McCreedy? Or his son Michael?

    Thanks!

    OP

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: He didn't have to give the present any attention

    It's a relief when somebody gives us a sensible amount of context.

    My opinion;

    In the son's eyes, he (the son) represented the future. Anything to do with the present (time) was unworthy of his consideration. The suggestion is that the son was very self-centred.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    22,260
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: He didn't have to give the present any attention

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,

    The pasage below is from a novel I read last year. McCreedy, the father, asks his son if he has any idea for his father's birthday.

    ...Later in the day, when his son Michael came in. McCreedy stopped him before he went up to his room. He was thirteen.

    "Your mother is wondering what we might all do on my birthday. If you had any thoughts about it...?

    Michael shrugged. It was as if he knew he was untouchable, unconquerable. He was the future. He didn't have to give the present any attention. "No", he said. "Not specially. How old are you anyway?..."

    I'd like to ask about the sentences in bold. Who do you think said or thought "He was the future. He didn't have to give the present any attention."?

    The narrator? McCreedy? Or his son Michael?

    Thanks!

    OP
    The son, Michael.

  4. #4
    optimistic pessimist is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: He didn't have to give the present any attention

    Dear all,

    5jj, bhaisahab, thanks for your replies.

    If so, does that mean the son thought to himself, "I'm the future. I don't give the present any attention" when he said, " No, not specially" to his father?

    Many thanks!

    OP
    Last edited by optimistic pessimist; 01-Feb-2012 at 07:29.

  5. #5
    shannico's Avatar
    shannico is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    366
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: He didn't have to give the present any attention

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,

    The pasage below is from a novel I read last year. McCreedy, the father, asks his son if he has any idea for his father's birthday.

    ...Later in the day, when his son Michael came in. McCreedy stopped him before he went up to his room. He was thirteen.

    "Your mother is wondering what we might all do on my birthday. If you had any thoughts about it...?

    Michael shrugged. It was as if he knew he was untouchable, unconquerable. He was the future. He didn't have to give the present any attention. "No", he said. "Not specially. How old are you anyway?..."

    I'd like to ask about the sentences in bold. Who do you think said or thought "He was the future. He didn't have to give the present any attention."?

    The narrator? McCreedy? Or his son Michael?

    Thanks!

    OP
    It was as if he knew he was untouchable, unconquerable. He was the future. He didn't have to give the present any attention. "No", he said. "Not specially. How old are you anyway?...

    I would have thought so too at the start. However, it may also be that the father is looking at his son and thinking that he is the future. What made me doubt about my first reading was the IT WAS AS IF bit at the start. IT WAS AS IF sounds more like the father's impression of his son at that moment.
    In his father's eyes he may have seemed untouchable, unconquerable. And in his father's eyes he may have represented the future - after all it was the father's birthday and he, the father, might have felt older, which may explain why, unlike him, the son didn't have to pay much attention to the present.
    Am I totally off the track???

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: He didn't have to give the present any attention

    Quote Originally Posted by shannico View Post
    However, it may also be that the father is looking at his son and thinking that he is the future. What made me doubt about my first reading was the IT WAS AS IF bit at the start. IT WAS AS IF sounds more like the father's impression of his son at that moment.
    I think you may be right to the extent that the idea ' It was as if he knew ...' could represent the impression on the father; it could also be the impression that the narrator wanted to present. The knowledge that "he was untouchable, unconquerable. He was the future. He didn't have to give the present any attention." can, I think, only be the son's - as imagined by the father or narrator.

    I don't think that the father (or narrator) thinks that the boy is the future; he thinks that the boy thinks he is. The lines that follow ( "No", he said. "Not specially. How old are you anyway?...") mean to me that we have not left the (father's/narrator's) impression of what is in the boy's mind.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    22,522
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: He didn't have to give the present any attention

    I think the writer wants us to know that the way the son spoke, in a clearly disinterested fashion, is what gives us/his father the idea that he's not really bothered about his father's birthday or anything else that's happening in the present. He's thinking about himself, his own future. He is even disinterested in his own family. He doesn't care what they do to celebrate his father's birthday and he doesn't even know how old his own father is!

    Mind you, sounds like your average 13-year-old to me!

  8. #8
    shannico's Avatar
    shannico is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    366
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: He didn't have to give the present any attention

    Thanks 5jj

    "I don't think that the father (or narrator) thinks that the boy is the future; he thinks that the boy thinks he is. The lines that follow ( "No", he said. "Not specially. How old are you anyway?...") mean to me that we have not left the (father's/narrator's) impression of what is in the boy's mind."


    I should have said "The passage refers to the father's trail of thoughts, rather than the boy's". It's almost as though the father is thinking to himself what the boy is thinking. Indirectly he's describing the boy's self-centred and indifferent attitude.

Similar Threads

  1. attracted attention or grabbed my attention
    By ostap77 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 27-Mar-2011, 13:05
  2. Replies: 10
    Last Post: 04-Jan-2011, 23:26
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-Sep-2009, 08:09
  4. to call attention/ to draw attention
    By vil in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-Apr-2008, 12:56
  5. To the attention of
    By Will17 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-Apr-2008, 13:17

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk