Themes and message

Power relations

In the short story "Tom Corridan", Arhondia explores the theme of power relations in the family through Tom’s relationship with his father, as well as through the father’s relationship with the other members of the family.

As an adult and parent, Frank is a figure of authority for his two sons (although Tom does not always recognize this authority). The story suggests that Tom, Joe, and their mother depend financially on Frank (ll. 42-43), which also gives him power in the family. Frank is aware of his power and probably thinks it is his right as a father to decide Tom’s future. Furthermore, he probably realizes that, if Tom goes to university, he will lose the power he now has over Tom. 

Frank is also psychologically abusive towards his wife (ll. 41-46). This shows that Frank tries to force Tom and his wife to respect him by abusing the power he has over them, using brute force and verbal abuse. The story suggests that this happens often (ll. 86-88), which could indicate that Frank feels a sense of powerlessness about his own social status and takes out his frustrations on his family. The entire scene where he is shouting at his wife to hurry with the dinner and insulting Tom f...

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