As the child of an abusive father, Victor is bitter and full of anger. Throughout the film, we see flashbacks of Arnold’s treatment of his son that help us to understand Victor. Arnold tries to love his son, but consistently places alcohol as a priority over his family. He pH hectically abuses his wife and son, and eventually leaves them both when his wife tries to force him to give up his addiction. “l broke three hearts that day,” we hear Arnold Joseph say during g a flashback to his neighbor in Phoenix, Suez Song. Victors heart, obviously, was one of them. We know right from the start about Arnold Josephs failings as a father.
We alas o know early on of his death, and his cremation. Arnold Josephs cremation is a sign of how he burned himself up with his collectivities tendencies, and how his relationship with h is family is ruined as a result. These relationships are the foundation of the film, and thee r destruction in flame is what drives the main theme of the movie: forgiveness of our fathers. As Victor and Thomas journey from Corer Deadline to Phoenix, their relations IP is strained many times. Thomas is awkward and sometimes blunt, and he speaks often o f his relationship with Arnold Joseph.
This causes Victor to be jealous and resentful awards Thomas, who had a relationship with Arnold Joseph that Victor never had. Thou mass got the trips to Denny and beebread eating contests, and Victor got the screaming an d the knocks to the head. Towards the end of the film, Victor learns that his father was responsible for t he fire that killed Thomas parents. The moment that he discovers this is the turning point for his character. It is in this moment of realization that he begins to forgive his father, and to let go of the bitterness he held towards him.
After Thomas and Victor retrieve Arnold Josephs ashes, they begin their journo eye back home. Thomas once again starts telling stories about Arnold Joseph, and Victor lashes s out at him. “He was nothing but a liar! ” Victor says. Thomas accuses Victor of leaving his mother just like Arnold Joseph did. “Everything burned up, Thomas! Everything! ” is Victors rest pones, and he doesn’t mean the house. He is talking about his family. This scene exposes all the wounds that both Thomas and Victor have been ca raying. Wounds that were left by Arnold Joseph, and the way he hurt them both.
It is, however , another step in Victor’s forgiveness of his father. At the end of the film, Victor and Thomas arrive back at the Corer Deadline rest revocation. Victor gives Thomas half his father’s ashes, and Thomas asks Victor, “DO you know w why your dad left? ” “He didn’t mean to, Thomas. ” With this, Victor journeys to a bridge in Spokane and empties his father’s ashes s over the river, while the ending soliloquy plays over. Victor is seen crying, while Thomas recite sees an abridged version of Dick Loris’s poem How Do We Forgive Our Fathers.
How do we forgive our Fathers? Maybe in a dream Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever when we were little? Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all. Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers? For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers? And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness? Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning for SSH outing doors for speaking the rough walls or never speaking or never being silent?
Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs or their deaths saying it to them or not saying it? If we forgive our Fathers what is left? Victor’s final words about his father remind us of Jesus’ words on the cross. “H e didn’t mean to, Thomas. ” and “They know not what they do” are both lines that represent f rigidness. Jesus asks his Father to forgive the people about to take his life. And Victor, alt Hough not directly, seems to be asking Thomas to forgive Arnold Joseph; he is on his way to forgiving him as well.
We see through Victor’s eventual forgiveness Of his father that HTH s is something that takes time, however. It is a struggle for him, and it involves opening woo ends that he probably would have preferred to let fester. But that pain is necessary for heal Eng. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive m y brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, b t seventeen times. ‘” Matthew 18:2122 TO be able to forgive an infinite number of times is seemingly impossible, and yet we are called as Christians to do just that.
Victor eventually manages to follow Christ’ s words here. He was abused repeatedly by his father, wounded countless time both physic ally and emotionally. In that moment on the bridge, however, Victor forgives his father for all of those past hurts. Seventy times seven. Our fathers are supposed to love and care for us, protect us from hurt and ha RMI. But sometimes they are the ones who inflict that hurt on us. They are capable of c causing deeper mounds than almost anyone else of wounding us to the point where we feel we can never be healed. We are raw and bloody and damaged.
We are weighed down with bur dens of resentment and hatred. It is only through Christ that we can be healed. Like Vi actor on the bridge, there must come a time for all Of us when We cry Out. It may be in pain , in anger, in sadness or grief. But it must end in forgiveness. We do not forgive others for their sake. We are called to forgive even the undo serving especially the undeserving. And our fathers are not always deserving. They do not always ask for forgiveness, for grace, or even for love. But we must love them, and that means showing them grace.