“The Charmer” by Budge Wilson is a short story that displays the important of the role of family circulating through a main character named Zack. Just as any family, the parent has an important role that is to love, forgive and care for their children; but Zack’s failure was affected by these factors in his family. The love, forgiveness and lack of discipline from all family members create Zack’s childhood character and his adulthood down fall.
First of all, growing up as a happy and popular young man, Zack creates himself the prefect reputation with lots of room for love and smothering from his mother and two sisters.
They love him so much and show this love by being at his every beckoning. According to Winnifred, “I was Zachary’s willing slave. Slavery, in fact, was in vogue in our house. ” (Wilson, 102), Zack is overwhelmed with love and good deeds sent in his direction. He takes advantage of these kind gestures and never really appreciates what his family has done for him. Besides that, the family also gives him so much love just because “he was the only son, the only brother, the oldest child in the family” (103).
He is spoiled by such irrational blind love, and that leads him to being a selfish and irresponsible person. That is why he starts to a have a sign of a “real evil” (103) when he is still young. In opposite, if his parent shares their love to his sisters, he would have learnt how to love and share responsibilities. Secondly, Zack’s bad behaviours also develop from his parent’s forgiveness. He dares to eat the cake that his mom makes for the church bazaar; and, he uses just some flattery words to fool his mom into forgiveness: “Go ahead. Have another piece.
You certainly are the limit! ” (102). He is taught that he can do something knowing he should not and stand a very good chance getting away with it. Zack makes mistakes but gets away without punishment or a good lesson. His down fall continues with lies, stealing money, smoking, drinking, smashing the family’s car, dumping his Dad’s toolbox, etc. , during his teenager age. He even takes the family car when they need to go see Lizzie on her dead bed, “but Mom forgave him everything” because “he’s sensitive, he’s taking it hard, and he can’t face what ahead for us. (104). His mother thinks that letting her son run free is good for him but actually just makes him worst. His mother thinks that he is suffering but actually he does not care for any one other than himself. Wrongfully forgiveness is a counteraction that also affect to Zack’s failure. At the age of twenty-four, he is still living at home, looses his job one after another, and plunges himself into drinking and gambling. Finally, the lack of discipline in the family, especially from Zack’s father, is also a key factor to Zack’s debouching.
His father makes mistake of not saying or doing anything about his disagreement with the way Zack is treated, the bad behaviours Zack encountered. Winnifred describes that: “Even Dad took a long time to wake up” and “he would just leave the room and go out to his work shed and sit and rock and rock in that old chair of his” (103). The father is the male role model in a family. He knows about Zack’s problem, he knows about Zack’s bad behaviours, but why he does not act until it’s too late? Without discipline, Zack never learns from his mistake.
Besides that, Zack’s mother also lacks in parental and discipline. Every time Zack acts as prodigal son, he “always left Mom in tatters” (103). This caption shows soften in his mother’s heart that makes she forget about the role of a parent when her son makes mistake. She is afraid her son would think bad of her, maybe even hate her if she applies discipline on him. When his Dad gives him two choices: stay with discipline or leave; Zack chooses to leave the family and end up destroying his life in gambling and drinking.
In a family, love and forgiveness and discipline is really necessary present and being applied reasonable. Excessive love will become blind love. The parent sometimes has to put their love aside, and do what is best for their child. Forgiveness is necessary but if a parent forgives too easily, the child will take advantage of his rights. Although, with that comes discipline, less suffering will follow. A family is the foundation of a society and family really affects to the success or failure of each person in life. Hopefully through this story, readers will get a lesson about how to raise their children properly.