The portrayal of family, whether it is a positive or negative one, really took my interest as I progressed through the work. The impacts these familial relationships have on certain characters throughout its entirety are quite striking. The work shows that not all families are perfect, many have their flaws, and it is these flaws that, in a sense, mold the characters.
I want to focus on the differences that arise when the children, being Naomi and Owen, are exposed to different relationships – a damaging, unhealthy one with their mother versus a loving, respectful one with their father. When the children’s mother comes back into the picture, showing up on Gram’s doorstep, things begin to take a turn for the worse. Skyla tries to win over Naomi’s love and respect by buying her nice things, when, in reality, all she yearns for is her mother’s love. We learn that Skyla plans to bring just Naomi to Las Vegas, leaving Owen to stay with Gram, and I begin to question were the gifts just a form of bribery? Zoning in on Owen’s relationship with Skyla, or lack there of, it is clear that she sees no need to establish one with him; it is nonexistent. When she does gift him with a new bicycle she makes it clear that the gift was from her boyfriend, Clive. It is quite clear that the relationship with their mother is very unhealthy, especially considering her dependence on alcohol.
In contrast, the children’s relationship with their father is very different. Although they are just reconnecting with him, it is clear that he adores his children and wants to be a part of their life. When they return from their trip to Mexico, things seem better. Specifically, Naomi gains the courage she never had. She is now strong enough to speak up for herself, and many notice this new side to her. In a sense, it takes Skyla’s damaging relationship with her children to bring about something positive. The feeling their father has for them demonstrates the never-ending effects of a parent’s unconditional love for a child. Even when they were not with him, they were always on his mind.
It is interesting to compare and contrast the different relationships, and the complexities they add to the plot of the story. It seems to me that each relationship is different for Naomi and Owen, and those relationships seem to shape them into the characters they are presented as at the close of the work.