How do Kevin’s interactions with his father and his teacher, Waldo, help develop the theme within the story? Provide evidence from the reading to support your response.
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Answer:One theme of this story is coming of age, which is revealed through Kevin’s experiences at school and home. In the story, Kevin feels caught between his interactions with his father at home and his teacher at school. Waldo, Kevin’s teacher, humiliates Kevin because his father helped him complete his homework, which is incorrect. Consider the character interaction at the end of the story between Kevin and his father:
“How did it go today?” his father asked.
“All right.” They kept silent until they reached the corner of their own street.
“What about the Latin?”
Kevin faltered, feeling a babyish desire to cry.
“How was it?”
“Good. I was a bit worried about it. It was done in a bit of a rush. Son, your Da’s a genius.” He smacked him with the paper again. Kevin laughed and slipped his hand into the warmth of his father’s overcoat pocket, deep to the elbow.
Kevin has the “babyish desire to cry,” but he doesn’t let his father know about the problems at school. His restraint shows that through this experience Kevin has matured, and he is protecting his father from feeling the humiliation from his school experience.