Throughout Andre Dubus III’s memoir Townie, the themes of forgiveness, reconciliation, and resilience are great driving forces that played huge roles in his personal development as his life progressed. Along with his personal growth, his relationships with his siblings and parents, and their behaviors also experienced significant changes over the course of time. Thus, the Dubuses noticeably transformed from a broken, disconnected family, divided by personal values and conflict, into one of unity and well-being, in which they learned to look past one another’s mistakes and to rediscover the common grounds that truly made them a family. While forgiveness is a commonplace practice among people faced with conflict, it has been determined that a myriad of variables, which can be grouped into a single forgiving personality, correlates with the concept of forgiveness.
This includes agreeableness, emotional stability, and religiousness and spirituality. As stated by McCullough, author of “Forgiveness: Who Does It and How Do They Do It?”, people who are highly agreeable tend to “thrive in the interpersonal realm and experience less conflict in relationships than less agreeable people do”, as they are more capable of seeing things from different perspectives and understand how to get along with others, Similarly, those who are emotionally stable are more likely to have “low vulnerability to experiences of negative emotion leaving them less susceptible to moodiness and oversensitivity when dealing with conflict. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the deducted outcome of seven total studies suggested that those who personally viewed themselves as “highly religious or spiritual tend to value forgiveness more highly and see themselves as more forgiving”, contrary to those who considered themselves as the opposite, as their beliefs affected their personal values as well.
These factors were greatly influential in relation to the Dubus family, particularly with Dubus III and his father, Growing up after his parents’ divorce, Dubus III never felt any obligation towards sharing his thoughts and feelings with his fathert As he reflects at the end of Chapter 3, “in [his] visits with Pop once a month, [he] could have told him that story or the others, but why would [he]?”. Even having witnessed an overwhelming amount of injustice and bullying in his life, especially towards his own family, Dubus III chose to internalize his feelings of dissatisfaction by developing a habit of holding grudges. Without a proper outlet to support his negative emotions, he settled for near-obsessive bodybuilding, so he train himself till he looked too intimidating to be threatened by anyone “All I wanted to do was bench-press 300 pounds and get so big I scared people, bad people, people who could hurt you“, as he laments his lack of a plan for his future.
As weight-training at home began to disappoint him, he turned to boxing and discovered how much he enjoyed throwing punches andjabs at a target. Unfortunately, these newly-acquired fighting skills also festered into his eventual habit of using violence to handle conflict, largely reducing his agreeableness. Over the course of time, Dubus Ill fails to keep himself from losing more control several times, leaving him both emotionally distant and unstable. But, he soon finds it difficult to bring himself to keep fighting, as he learned to restrain his urge to break “the invisible membrane you have to puncture to get to [whom he was fighting]” and channel towards something more productive: Writing, While this hobby, later turned career, had no relation to religion of any kind, Dubus‘s father had turned to religion after the accident that left him crippled, and this was what paved the way towards mutual forgiveness between the pairs.
As for the reconciliation between father and son, Katz states that there were “eight common qualities of the reconciled father-son relationships“, despite the fact that a there was no “one ideal model for healthy father-son relationships”. The fifthquality, in particular, was about sharing an emotional availability This meant that the interviewed pairs of father and son “expressed,,, and were aware of [open communication an emotional honesty] as being significant”. Even though it was hard to determine whether this quality “[facilitated] the reconciliation process”, or whether “reconciliation itself nurtured an emotional availability to blossom”, the concept of emotional availability itself proved that reconciliation was a “gradual process” that involved the fathers and sons spending time together, rather than “a linear or singular event”.
In Towru’e, Dubus Ill and his father kept extremely limited contact with each other after the divorce, usually only spending time together “once a week, usually a Sunday,” with the rest of Dubus 111’s siblingst However, as Dubus III returned from college to live with his father, both men were then presented with more opportunities to talk, fostering a willingness towards getting to know each other and compensating for all the time they had lost due to the divorce Through this, the pair discovered common ground in writing Even though Dubus 111 Viewed his writing as a necessity, while his father saw it as a possible future career, as pointed out in the Dubus lll’s wordst “Burl wasn‘t a writer. He was a writer. I didn’t want to be a writer, [just knew I had to write”. Therefore, while they never fully become a fatherason pair, there was evident reconciliation in their relationship as they spent more time together, through which they became “more like two buddies who work out together, then drink together”.
Despite the fact that Andre never managed to verbally express how much he needed a father figure to help him through the rough patches in his life, he used writing as a form of emotional release, becoming “the boy in [him] who was screaming, not the twentyeseven—yeareold man who loved and admired his father and treasured being one of the ones to help bring him back, but the boy who wanted to know one thing: Where were you when I needed you? This effectively allowed him to vent all those years of pain, frustration and anger, and pour his emotions into stories, sowing the seeds of reconciliation through these subtle improvements to their relationship and what they were willing to share in communicating with each othert With the above social science concepts in mind, it is remarkable to note how Townt’e ties both the aforementioned attributes in with the third concept of resilience, which refers to an individual’s ability to “bounce back from difficult Limes and cope well with challenges” .
In the article of “Positive Mental Health: Resilience”, it is suggested by research that adolescents who are more resilient “may be in a better position to avoid risky behaviors, such as violence, substance use, and adolescent pregnancy, than are other adolescents”. Therefore, this is evidence that having an effective internal problem-solving mechanism reduces the chances of relying on external forces to subsist It is also noted that “resilience-based programs, particularly those that also involve parents, showed decreases in problems with anger and aggression, in levels of perceived stress, in susceptibility to peer pressure, and in alcohol and illicit drug use, compared with adolescents who did not participated in such programs”.
This point hence shows that parental involvement, in terms of building resilience, can be profoundly beneficial to adolescents and reduces their likeliness to partake in risk-taking behaviors, This concept relates to Townie as Dubus Ill and his siblings grew up in subepar environments that lacked parental guidance or supervision, especially due to their parents’ divorce and their mother’s hectic work schedule, This led to a series of risky behavior experimentations that hindered all of Dubus Ill‘s siblings in terms of their personal growth. Dubus 111, more specifically, first turned to alcoholism and occasional substance use before shifting his focus towards weightetraining and boxing, which then led into adolescent sexual affairs and an apparent thirst for violence The final trait is particularly obvious during his first few days of training under Bill Connolly, how he had wanted to hit the bag “again” , and was hoping to “find other was to do it”.
It grew even more noticeable as he voiced his yearning to “hurt [Dana] Lynch more than [he] did”. However, after he re-evaluates the true purpose of fighting, Dubus III resorts to calmly speaking and explaining his actions to the druggies on the train, Even when faced with one who threatened to “cut [his] head off and stick it down [his] throat” (Dubus 350), he maintained his composure and treated the thug like an equal instead, without resorting to any Violencel From this, we are presented with the discernible shift in Dubus III’s behavior as he became more resilient internally through reducing his frequency of substance abuse. Vice versa, with the change of becoming more resilient, Dubus 111 no longer found it necessary to rely on external forces, such as alcohol and drugs, and his anger levels substantially dropped. This could also have been due to how he had gone from using violence to channeling his energy towards something more worthwhile.
The leisurely activity of writing that brought him peace and calm. With his strengthened resilience, Dubus III successfully found the means to support his dad after his tragic accident, and managed to find peace despite his father’s passing, even deciding to personally construct the coffin and dig his grave with his brother Jeb as one final act of showing his love and admiration. To conclude, Towm’e was a powerful, potent memoir that successfully showed the existence and interdependence of the social sciences in terms of forgiveness, reconciliation, and resilience, While Dubus 111 did not get to enjoy the most ideal of childhoods, and had to endure countless conflicts, he found his way towards forgiving his father and learning to combat problems on his own without blaming others. Thus, in these respects, Towm’e presents itself as a highly effective medium through which the interrelations between the social sciences are proven, and shows how a family can be reunified and reconnected over time.