Jurgen Bolanos Professor Brewer English 107 Feb. 18 2011 We’re not so different you and I In Sarah Vowell‘s essay “Shooting Dad” she talks about her relationship with her dad. She goes far to explain how she differs from her father. She explains her tug-of-war battle with her father. In the end of the essay she expresses her great love for her father and it shows how happy she is that she shares a common feeling. They share a great sense of passion and pride. She begins the essay by showing the open gap between her and her father.
She explains her relationship as “You could have looked at the Democratic campaign poster in the upstairs window and the Republican one in the downstairs window and seen our home for the Civil War battleground it was” (Vowell 433). I feel that in her description, her and her father both were very stubborn and wanted the other to view their personal way of living as right. Sarah’s father called her in mocking joyful tones when a republican won an election, and she pasted a left wing newspaper clipping on the refrigerator door because she knew he would see it.
Another way of setting herself apart from her father was the numerous times when she explained discomfort in her home. “I had to move revolvers out of my way to make room for a bowl of Rice Krispies on the kitchen table” (Vowell 434). Vowell then contrast her discomfort with the lonely island she has made out of her room. She not only separates herself from her dad but also her twin sister who is just as passionate about guns as her father. She feels like her twin is in an alliance with her father and against her. Amy shared our father’s enthusiasm for firearms and the quick-draw cowboy mythology surrounding them” (Vowell 435). Sarah realizes she may now be able to build a relationship with her father when she hears about his new cannon. She asks him if she may go shoot his new cannon with him. This is like a breath of fresh air to her and a great surprise to her father. “He was immediately suspicious” (Vowell 438). Even when she was trying out a new thing with her father she seemed a bit cautious because she was trying to justify her motives to the reader.
Although Sarah starts to admit she likes her new experience, Sarah’s view of guns as negative still exists. She puts in her essay an explanation of why her father’s cannon are different by using the analogy of someone trying to rob a liquor store. “try to rob a convenience store with this 110-pound Saturday night special, you’d still be dragging it in the door Sunday afternoon” (Vowell 439). She tries to assimilate her love for loud, head banging music to the sound of the cannon when it is shot.
Towards the end of the essay the rhythm slows down as she begins to talk about her fathers wishes when he dies. She feels kind of honored to know that her father will be shot out of the cannon they both shot together. In her last paragraph she shows that honor by starting just about every sentence with “I. ” Sarah says, “I will have my father’s body burned into ashes. I will pack these ashes into paper bags. I will go to the mountains…I will plunge his remains into the barrel and point it into a hill…I will light the fuse.
But I will not cover my ears… I think she also uses the repetition of me to show ownership, because they way her father wants his body to be treated are from an experience they shared. This was an awesome essay that began with the clashing of two stubborn people. Sarah then learned that all her life she had believed that her and her father was complete opposites but went she first shot the cannon with her father all that changed. She ends the essay with a new found relationship with her father and knowing they are one in the same.