Father Wakes Up the Village by Clarence Day
In Father Wakes Up the Village by Clarence Day we have the theme of determination, satisfaction, pride, control and efficiency. Taken from his Life with Father collection the story is narrated in the first person by Day himself and after reading the story the reader realises that Day may be exploring the theme of determination. Day’s father when he finds out that there is no ice goes above and beyond in order to ensure that he will have some before he sits down for dinner. He criticizes the tradesmen in the village till they come to their senses or at least a point of view that is similar to Day’s father. Some critics might suggest that Day’s father is bullying the tradesmen but it is noticeable that Day does not paint a pleasant picture of the tradesmen who he generally considers to be lazy. Something that Day’s father is not used to, having come from the hustle and bustle of the city. A place where things get done and move forward. This could be significant as Day’s father is giving up part of his life to live in the country. He likes the peacefulness of the country but is paying a price (efficiency) for that peacefulness.
There is also no doubting that Day’s father gets a sense of satisfaction after he challenges the tradesmen. It is as though he is in control of them and they will oblige him because the reality is that he is being rational. He is not asking for anything out of the normal and at the same time he is giving the tradesmen trade. It is difficult to feel sympathy for the tradesmen who as mentioned come across as being very lazy. Another point of interest is the fact that Day himself is not embarrassed by his father nor does he appear to be afraid of him. This could be significant as by supporting his father Day is showing that he agrees with his father’s methods and the course of action he takes. If anything it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that Day is proud of his father and his actions. He is a man who was determined to do something and achieved his goal with little or no problem to himself. The same cannot be said for the tradesmen who may consider Day’s father to be an inconvenience.
The request that Day’s father made is also not extreme. If anything it was a simple one even if he did end up buying too much ice. It is as though Day’s father is proving a point to the tradesmen and putting them in their place or at least a place that Day’s father thinks they should be put in. Just as Day’s father likes to be in control he won’t let anyone get the better of him and the tradesmen don’t like to be controlled by a customer. Particularly one that acts like Day’s father. However they do as they are told. Helped of course by money which Day’s father appears to have an abundance of. Though some critics might consider that Day’s father has been rude to the tradesman it is more likely he has just upset the apple cart and taken control away from the tradesmen. He has gotten his own way whereas the tradesmen because of their position in the village feel as though they are more important than others.
On a final note the real winner is Day himself. He has seen what can be achieved by being determined. He has seen how much satisfaction a man can get when striving for what they know is right. The incident with the ice is a lesson for Day. One that fills him with pride for his father. He has seen his father act calmly and achieve his goal. At no stage in the story is Day’s father fazed by the course of action he has to take. He remains in complete control something which Day might find admirable. Though excessive control over others may not be a good thing. However this does not appear to be the case in the story. Day’s father encountered a problem and resolved it with the help of determination and money. He was not going to allow the tradesmen to get the better of him (and they didn’t). He persevered and succeeded in what he set out to do and at the end of the story he congratulates himself by having a glass of chilled wine.