(The son, Dan, has informed his mother that he intends entering the priesthood. His mother, Rosaleen, retreats to bed. Hannah is her daughter. )
‘I thought I could so some cheese on toast,’ said Hannah and her mother said, ‘I made him. I made him the way he is. And I don’t like the way he is. He is my son and I don’t like him, and he doesn’t like me either. And there’s no going out of all that, because it’s a vicious circle and I have only myself to blame.’
This all seemed, to Hanna, either true or beside the point. But instead of telling her mother this, she said the thing she was supposed to say:
‘But you like me, Mammy.’
‘ I like you now,’ said her mother. Anne Enright, The Green Road
(The son has finished lunch with his parents. His father is a judge)
He [the son] stood up. He would have liked to say something to his mother, but hadn’t learnt the language as do natural linguists and normal sons.
So she extricated herself from what she saw to be a male situation, and was soon cursing Etty, Mildred, Thatcher, between the silences in which she hoped to overhear what was going on in the dining room.
He had failed her. He was going to fail them both, as it is the habit, more often than not, of the children to fail the parents — and vice versa.
He had hardly sat down after Eadie’s exit when the Judge began. ‘What do you think of doing, Eddie?’
You could hardly answer, Nothing; surely being is enough? looking, smelling, listening, touching.
Instead you said, ‘I’m thinking of going into the country. To work.’
In response to a serious aspiration, the Judge became more than ever earnest. ‘A practice in a country town — somewhere like Wagga, say — no, Bathurst. I don’t approve of nepotism, but could probably persuade Birkett and Blair to take you in. A very reputable firm of solicitors. Blair I know personally. I can’t see why you shouldn’t aim higher eventually. But feel your way back into the profession you were intended for. I’d die so much happier for seeing you dedicated to the Law.’
Patrick White, The Twyborn Affair