Summary Analysis of Comparative between “Am Wrestling with My Father” and “Shooting Dad.”

241 views 5 pages ~ 1149 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

Sarah Vowell and Brad Manning: Similar but Separate Relationships with Fathers

Sarah Vowell and Brad Manning have written more about how to have similar but separate kinds of relationships with their fathers in their novels. I have always maintained that you must get along with that person in order to enjoy each other's company, have normal discussions, or share common interests. They adored their fathers as any child does, but their communication styles differed and were not the same as in a mutual father-child relationship.

Stylistic Techniques to Differentiate Relationships

Furthermore, both writers use stylistic techniques to differentiate their relationships with their fathers by characterizing them. In both of the stories "Shooting Dad," and "Arm Wrestling with my Father," there is use of different rhetorical approaches that permits them to demonstrate their actual emotional states of how they relate to their father's. However, they also used alike rhetorical devices that are always used in a different way. For instance, when Manning says, "Ours had always been a physical relationship, I suppose, one determined by athleticism and strength." He tries to emphasize on how his relationship with his father was actually physical. On the other hand, when Vowell States that, "If you were passing by the house where I grew up during my teenage years and it happened to be before Election Day, you wouldn’t have needed to come inside to see that it was a house divided," she was trying to come to a conclusion that the relationship with her father was based on a mutual interest of political affairs where they were both of polar opposites.

Use of Rhetorical Questions and Differences in Relationships

What's more, Manning integrated rhetorical question into his work "Arm Wrestling with My Father" while Vowell does not do so. Manning’s rhetorical question asks, "How could I have learned so quickly how it would feel to have overpowered the arm that had protected and provided for me all my life?" However this question depicts that in his life, he had been protected under the able hands of his father where he felt safe. Eventually, Manning grows to be a strong person who ends up beating his father. He surprised himself as he had other accountabilities and he was no longer a young kid. Through physical interaction without the use of any verbal, Manning could sense his father’s downfall as he was beating him. However, their correlation was transitioned from an actual physical Arm Wrestle; to a lengthy, indulgent hug that Manning’s father gave him before he went back to college.

Disparities with Fathers

In the both stories, we are also shown how the fathers of the authors had disparities with their children. For the case of the story, ‘Shooting Dad’, there is a great disparities between what daughter likes and what father likes. Her father who happens to be a gunsmith loves guns. Sarah on the other hand, loves art. Even when it comes to politics both are on different stands Sarah considers herself to be a democrat while her father a staunch republican. It is also evident in the book "Arm Wrestling With my Father" that both Brand and his father had disparities in the way they related. Brand’s father thought that by playing games and wrestling with his son was a way of showing him love. However, his son didn’t seem to understand this in his early age. Brand expected his father to show him love by sending him letters while he was away. He also expected his father to tell him that he loved him but his father didn’t do as he expected. Their expectations about love were totally different.

Use of Imagery to Portray Relationships

Additionally, both of the authors have used imagery but in a different way. When Manning uses imagery, he uses it principally to refer to an emotion or the expression on both of their faces while they were arm fighting. When Manning says, "He would see my downcast eyes, my reddened, sweating face, and sense my intensity," he tries to emphasize that when he and his father were arm wrestling , he was precisely passionate and he wanted to let out every single bit of feelings he possessed as he engaged in a conversation with his father. On the other hand, Vowell illustrates the use of imagery but in a different way to that of Manning. When Vowell make evidence of imager in her story, she uses it as a metaphor linking to how "disorganized and messy," her relations were with her father (Vowell, 40). When she says, "It was also a messy disaster area, an obstacle course of musical instruments-piano, valve trombone, trumpet, various percussion doodads, baritone horn and recorders," she tries to use the imagery by creating a mental picture of a disorderly and disorganized region like that of the relations she was involved in with her father. Tentatively, this distinguishes itself from Manning’s due to the fact that he employs imagery to make a depiction of the effort put out to send a message across to his father.

Use of Hyperboles to Depict Relationships

Moreover, Manning in his story has integrated the use of hyperboles to point out the different aspects of his relationships with his father’s unlike Vowell who did not used it. For instance, when Manning says, "the way he would pound his hand on my back made rumbles I my tears," he tries to show that his father is the perfect father figure that watches over him and protects his family members. He showed that his father was always there for him.

Distinctive Biases and Shared Similarities

Lastly, in the book 'Shooting Dad', Vowell hints that at the very start of her story that she showed how her substantial biases distinguished itself so heavily with her conservative father unlike Manning. "Dads shop was a messy disaster area, a labyrinth of lathes.....My domain was the cramped cold space known as the music room." (Vowell, 50) Despite the distinctively differences, both of them shared other similarities which forecast her and her father understanding each other at the end of the story.


In conclusion, there have been an uncountable number of ways that individuals has to have for a working relationship with their fathers. However, Manning and Vowell in their stories assimilated the use of various rhetorical devices, imagery, rhetorical questions and use of hyperboles to show the relations they had with their fathers. The devices helped the authors in developing an explanation of how each had was able to relate with their fathers. Although both of them shared some similarities, the stories are first and foremost unique due to the different ways in the use of the styles. By using this styles it brought out the plot of the stories clearly for the reader.

Works cited

Vowell, Sarah. “Shooting Dad.” Seeing and Writing 2: 231-237

November 03, 2022


Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Character
Verified writer

Tony is a caring and amazing writer who will help you with anything related to English literature. As a foreign exchange student, I received the best kind of help. Thank you so much for being there for me!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro