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Carnival Dog Buyer of Diamonds

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In “The Carnival Dog, the Buyer of Diamonds,” Myron tries to step out of his father’s shoes multiple times, but ultimately realizes that his father is the dominant force in his life. Ever since Myron was a child, Abe Lufkin has done everything in his power to make sure his son is the spitting image of himself. Myron doesn’t love everything his father does, but doesn’t really mind it either; however he tries to stand up for himself and step out of his father’s shadow. When Myron is a teenager, Abe sends his son off to Judaism camp because he won a footrace his son thought he could win. Myron calls from college telling his dad his stopping his study of medical science hesitant about confronting his dad. When Myron and Abe play basketball, Myron gets in a fight with his father, but ends up losing. Whether or not he’s confident, Myron attempts to stop living his father’s life, but always ends up doing the opposite.

One day out of nowhere, Abe tells his son that he must go to Judaism camp for the summer. Abe makes a deal with Myron however, that if he can beat him in a race by foot, he won’t have to go to the camp. Myron knows his father well, and to beat him at a competition of his choosing would humiliate, frustrate, and insult Abe. While Myron knows this would be a perfect opportunity to prove his headstrong father wrong and beat him at his own game, he purposely loses the race to keep order amongst his family. “He didn’t want to learn to learn religion during the hottest month of the year, but also, he knew, there was something in beating his father that was like toppling of an ancient king.”(p.146) All his life, Myron has been living under the influence of his father, and when given an opportunity to change that, he declines and lets nature continue its course.

While Myron let his father get away with sending him to camp, he was only a teenager and summer camp wasn’t worth a fight. However, college is a life altering decision and Myron knows Abe’s choice isn’t parallel to his. Myron handled this with a brief phone call to his father, rather than a personal discussion in person. He knows he needs to tell his father about his unhappy college life, but is not courageous enough to tell him face to face. He needs his friend Itzhak for moral support and the safety of the phone to admit his life isn’t his fathers. “He heard Rachel over the line telling Abe to calm himself, to give her the phone. He imagined the blood rushing to Abe’s face, the breathing starting again…” (p.152) Myron meant to finally take a stand and stop living the lie of his father, but didn’t effectively follow through. Myron knows his father is the dominant force in his life and can’t bring himself to directly defy Abe’s choice for his career in medicine.

The phone call Myron made wouldn’t keep Abe from letting his only son drop out of college. Abe visits Myron at college, and the two find themselves playing a game of basketball. Myron knows the dispute of college won’t be settled over a game of basketball. He’s positive he can win in an ordinary fight against his father, so, by his own decision, “dove into the back of his father’s thin, tendoned knees.”(p154) This is Myron’s way of showing that just because he is the son of Abe, doesn’t mean that he himself is Abe. Yet Abe manages to pin Myron and is once again in control over his son. “Do you give?”

“Do you give?”
“You mean, will I go back to school?”
“That’s what I mean.”
“Look,” Myron said, “you’re crazy.”
“Give me your answer.”
………… “I give.”(p.155)
This is Myron’s biggest and most confident attempt to leave his father’s lifestyle behind him and he is beaten by his father. This shows that Myron is will be under the guidance of his father for the rest of his life. In chronological order of the story, Myron’s opportunities and actions to defy his father become greater. The reward for stepping out of his father’s shoes increases in Myron’s favor every time. Abe prevents Myron from not following his ways because his plan for Myron is to grow up just like Abe. At first Myron wants to leave his father’s shadow, but realizes the effects would be more bad than good. Later in his life, he knows his father’s teachings aren’t right for him, but does not handle it properly. During the anticipated interaction between the father and son, Myron is positive that he does not want a life analogous to Abe’s. His biggest plan to escape from his father’s rule fails, and he simply gives up.

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