Teenage Wasteland Essay, Research Paper
Donny is what is known as a problem child, and Daisy cannot seem to figure out what his problem is. Through many attempts she tries to reach him through counselors, and outside help. This story reveals a lack of communication, feelings of inadequacy, and lack of parental control. These days relationships between parents and children are tough, especially with society at the front door. The short story Teenage Wasteland by Anne Tyler is a revealing story about the trials of a mother and her son.
Donny is having some problems at school. It seems that he does not concentrate, or put forth the right amount of effort. Daisy learns from Donny s principal that Donny was noisy, lazy, and disruptive ( Kirszner & Mandell 459). Daisy explains to the principal that her and her husband, Matt, have tried what they can. We don t let him watch TV on school nights. We don t let him talk on the phone till he s finished his homework ( Kirszner & Mandell 459). The principal gives Daisy the idea to check his assignments everyday. This wears down on Daisy and she becomes less involved in her daughter s life, and short towards her husband. There is no way, really, to convey how exhausting all this was ( Kirszner & Mandell 459). Was anything that Daisy was doing getting through to him? She longed- she ached- for a time machine. Given one more chance she d do it perfectly ( Kirszner & Mandell 460). She finally hires a psychologist to test him and maybe get him on the right path again.
The psychologist recommends Calvin Beadle, a tutor with considerable psychological training. ( Kirszner & Mandell 460). Cal s presence is welcomed at first. Slowly he begins maneuvering into aspects of Donny s life. The tutor had set down so many rules! They were not allowed any questions at all about any aspect of school, nor were they to speak with his teachers. ( Kirszner & Mandell 462). Cal was eliminating them from Donny s life. Daisy did not notice this until she received a concerned phone call from one of Donny s teachers. The teacher explained that Donny s grades were not getting any better since the tutor, and that they were better when she was involved with his homework. Daisy explains to her that the tutor handles these things now (Kirszner & Mandell 463). The teacher explains I always deal directly with the parents. You are the parent, Miss Evans said slowly and distinctly. (Kirszner & Mandell 462).
As Donny spends more time with Cal, the problems seem to increase. One day Daisy gets a phone call explaining that Donny has been expelled due to some contents found in his locker. Instead of going home, Donny finds his way to Cal s. Daisy has lost control of her son. Donny no longer takes her seriously, or sees her as a parental figure. Eventually, Diasy and Matt remove Donny from Cal s tutoring, and send him to a public school. This breaks off any control that they had left. After everything Donny runs away. The first week in June, during final exams, Donny vanished. The cops told Daisy that if Donny wanted to come home then he would. Evidently, Donny didn t want to. ( Kirszner & Mandell 466).
Which of the building blocks fell through? Which one was not there to keep Donny there? At night, Daisy lies awake and goes over Donny s life. She is trying to figure out what went wrong, where they made their first mistake. ( Kirszner & Mandell 466). These days relationships with parents and children are tough, especially with the whole world outside looking in. You feel as if you can never do enough to prepare your child for the monster out the door. Doing your best is all that they need. What they learn from that will decipher how well they do in the real world.