A Lack Of Communication In William Kelley's Short Story 'Cages'

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Misty Lynn Walker once quoted, “A lack of communication breeds assumptions of what the other is thinking or feeling, and assumptions are, more often than not, incorrect.” Guy Vanderhaeghe and William Melvin Kelley proved this statement correct with their unique short stories. Guy Vanderhaeghe’s short story, Cages, is a story of 17 years old boy, Billy, who evinces his emotions about the responsibilities he’s been put in charge of and the lack of affection from his father. Most similarly, William Kelley’s short story, a visit to Grandmother, is a story of a grown up man, Charles, who confronts his mother about her iniquitous love between himself and his elder brother. Lack of communication between parents and children can lead to a weak relationship …show more content…

A small misconception born due to lack of communication led to a weak relationship between parents and children. In both stories, Billy’s father and Charles’ mother never expressed their feelings to their kids and never gave them reasons for their behavior. By the end, when words were their only companion in justifying themselves to their kids, they made a good use of them. Billy’s father emotionally broke down and told his son that “You were always the smart one. I didn’t have to worry about you. You always knew what to do.” (Guy Vanderhaeghe, 18) He justifies all the responsibilities that he put on Billy by telling him that he was smart and responsible. Similarly, Charles’ mother explains to him that, “...I had ten children. I had to give all of them what they needed most...But you was smarter. You was more growed up than GL when you was five and he was ten, and I tried to show you that by letting you do what you wanted to do.” (William Melvin Kelly, 6) Charles’ mother’s excessive responsibilities overpowered her affection towards Charles leading to their weak relationship. Despite their confession of their love, parents lacked communication skills and were tardy in solving their kids’ misconceptions which grew too …show more content…

Billy’s father put responsibilities upon him and paid significant attention to Eugene which developed a sense of jealousy and contempt in Billy’s heart towards Eugene. Billy sarcastically expresses his feelings towards Eugene by saying, “Yeah, I always brought him luck. I keep track of the game. I figured out what order to take the balls down. I reminded him not to put someone else out and to play the next guy safe instead of slamming off some corner ball shot. When I did all that Gene won- because I brought him luck. Yeah.” (Guy Vanderhaegh, 10 &11) Billy held that he and Gene weren’t equal; yet, he faced the consequences of Gene’s mistakes and Gene enjoyed the fruit of his work. Similarly, Charles was also jealous of GL because his mother always took care of GL and paid less attention to Charles. He expresses his feelings by saying, “GL was light-skinned and had good hair and looked almost white and you loved him for that.” (William Melvin Kelley, 7) Charles felt jealous of GL because he was always under his mother’s attention while Charles was sidelined. The miscommunication between parents and children indirectly rooted a cold relationship between

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