Father to Son Summary by Elizabeth Jennings


The poem speaks about the problem of growing old and apart that happens between loved ones, especially fathers and their sons. The lack of communication and appreciation creates a rift that seems to increase with time.

This leads to hostility, anger, frustration and emotional grief. The poetess tries to advice all the fathers and sons to find each other even when they seem to be distant and live together and in tranquillity.

A Worried Father

The poem starts with the perspective of a father who is worried that his son is growing distant. He wants to think of him as his young boy but the boy wants to act older and independent. This creates a vacuum between the two.

Next, the father laments the fact that he cannot understand the wishes of his son even after taking care of him for so many years. He has always tried to build a strong relationship based on trust and care. After all, he is the one who taught his son everything, from crawling to running. He also fears that his sin may never feel the same kind of loyalty to him in return.


The duo starts becoming strangers to each other with a severe lack of patience and understanding for each other’s opinions or views. The do not enjoy the same things or have the same preference. All they end up sharing is a silent space without words and gestures. 

The father fears that his son will drift away and find his own place to leave. He fears that his son will build a home without any room for his own father. However, he also hopes that this is only a phase and his son will soon return to his original home and only father.

He is willing to let of all the complaints and past mistakes at the chance of rebuilding a relationship of love and support. He also admits his own flaws and fits of anger borne out of grief and disillusionment.

The poetess ends the text with an appeal to fathers and sons across the globe. She encourages them to find common ground and shared concerns.

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