Dysfunctional family relationships form the basis of many Canadian short stories. Often,
tragedy is the end result of severe family breakdown. In other cases, personality defects
are directly traceable to poor family dynamics. In the stories “Hurt”, “Fall of a City”,
and “The Sound of Hollyhocks” there were very profound family problems.
The difficulty in the father/son relationship in “Hurt” reflects a role reversal. Even though
Stevie is only a young boy, he took
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factors which contribute to the breakdown of the relationships in these stories. Such
factors include alcoholism in “Hurt”, suspicion in “Fall of a City” and control in “The
Sound of Hollyhocks”. The reality of such relationships make the stories more interesting,
thought-provoking, and entertaining in a tragic sense. Perhaps the reader can learn by
experiencing the angst of these characters and can try to identify trouble spots in personal
relationships before it is too late.