“All the Way in Flagstaff, Arizona”


10 Responses to ““All the Way in Flagstaff, Arizona””

  1. Onyekachi Ukwu Says:

    The story was very touching. I felt bad for Walter who couldn’t over come his drinking habit which cost him his family; the one think he was afraid of loosing. He was scared of being like his cruel father, and ended up drinking. Finally, walter’s means of escaping from his fear made his children afraid of him. He ended up just like his father.

    Closer reading page 97.
    From the being of the story, it is obvious that the story was told by the author through the use of third person pronounces like “he” “she”.
    Also, the author introduces us to his major characters of the story, “Walter remembers a family picnic” “He and his wife Irene”. Since the story was going to involve the relationship of Walter and his father, the author introduces us to a minor characters, like William, Walter’s son who was always at loggerheads with his father ” Walter feels embarrassed in his company, especially when William shows this saintly, willing face to the world.”

    Moreover, the author introduces us a little into the characterizations of his characters. The role of Irene as the figurehead of the family is pronounced. She makes the final decisions in the family. She insisted that all members of the family were going to attend the picnic. Even Walter the father figure couldn’t fight his way out.
    Walter’s drinking habit was also obvious from the start. ” she will not cater to his hangovers anymore, she tells him”
    The way Richard Bausch structured his story made it easier to follow up what is happening. His characters and their characterization where clearly understood right from the start.

  2. Senad Musovic Says:

    I agree with Onyekachi Ukwu, i aswell felt very bad for what Walter had to deal with in his life and try to overcome. I also felt very bad for his family which had to go through and see his problem develope, and watch Walter continue to abuse the alcohol. Like most alcoholics they admit that they will quit and will change for the best, and false promises everywhere, but nothing really happens. Walter did seem to want a nice life and to be happy with his family. Walters and his father past seemed to keep him from doing just that, being happy with his family. Out of fear of being like his dad to his own family today and from the harsh memorys he had of growing up with his dad continued to keep him drinking which lead to his family leaving him. A very sad thing to happen especially since the familys only real big issue in the story is the father himself.

  3. Mina Batool Says:

    I feel very sorry for Walter especially since his drinking problem was something he “wanted” to get over but couldn’t. He had went through some terrible things in childhood which left lifelong scars on him. When him and his family are at the picnic one can tell he’s a goofy person, almost like he hasn’t really matured yet. And he uses his goofiness to have fun and entertain the kids. Yet, the wife who does oves him just can’t take it anymore. I think he should have told his wife about it, she would have understood then maybe. He was basically never independent. In one passage he says he was waiting for his wife to borrow money from her father, which in actual just meant “taking”. He seems to drink a lot cause he says it calms him down. He has this fear of hurting his children the way his father hurt him. He doesnt want them to live with the same scars he did. I think what he needed was a lot of support from someone close to tell him that it won’t happen. To reassure him and then he could have. He needed someone to be there for him to overcome.

  4. Faith Nwodo Says:

    The story as a feeling of pity to it. Walter’s childhood has a lot to do with his actions towards his present family.I felt all his bad behavoir wasn’t really his fault, they all are traced back to his childhood. Due to all these, he tries to avoid the same episode from happening to his family. I give credit to his wife irene, she tried her best to tolerate him for a long time, but she eventually gave up on him.This felt sad, i believe she should have waited a little longer, i guess that would have made a difference in his life.
    He made the wrong choice by drinking,which displaces him as a bad role model. His idea of not taking the things of God seriously, led to different ways by which his kids viewed things, for instance,susan bring up several idea of what she wants to become when she grows up and james idea that “he did not believe in God” and later on “he will grant the existence” ( this i find to be funny).

  5. Ebony Edwards-Ellis Says:

    All The Way in Flagstaff Arizona is an unflinching portrait of just how a dysfunctional family operates. Many of the characters played the role that many people in dysfunctional families.

    Irene is obviously co-dependent but is struggling to establish a more healthy relationship with her husband. This is made clear by the a passage in the first paragraph: “…she will not hear of it; she will not cater to his hangovers anymore.” The word “anymore” implies that Irene has made excuses for his drinking in the past. It also tells the reader that Irene is putting her foot down and (perhaps for the first time) demanding that her husband put the family ahead of his drinking.

    The first paragraph also gives us a lot of insight into William, the eldest son in the family. The author tells us that William is “making a sacrifice of pretending to have a good time.” This tells the reader that William is unusually serious for someone his age; most young children would not view attending a family picnic as “making a sacrifice”. And most young children actually would have a good time as opposed to pretending. This is also the second clue to the unpleasant environment in the family.

    The last sentence in the paragraph also gives us clues to William’s age. The fact that he can be influenced to pursue a career in the clergy by a movie tells us that he may not be very mature. The fact that “William shows this saintly, willing face to the world” also indicates that Walter may view William’s interest in religion as being a put-on. It may well be. At one point, William states that he doesn’t like his family. His religiosity may be a subconscious attempt to make them look bad.

    Although Walter, Irene, and William are the best developed characters, the way the author describes the other characters also tells us how dysfunctional the family is. As only character who doesn’t seem to be in denial or to be seeking to dissociate from the family, James displays what a lot of family coun counselors refer to as “pseudomaturity”. According to Walter, James “is always saying these mysteriously adult things that seem to refer slyly to other things, and then shrugging them off as if he is too tired to bother explaining them.” James also displays this “pseudomaturity” in a flashback: he “announced” that he did not believe in God, then “revised himself” by “grant[ing] the existence.” Walter “looks upon him with more than a little trepidation, because James is the one who most resembles him.”

    Eight-year-old Susan plays the role of “troublemaker”. The troublemaking child serves several different functions in the family. By stirring up conflict and rebelling, troublemakers distract the family from its problems. In many dysfunctional families, the troublemaker is also scapegoated, taking blame for things that aren’t their fault or responsibility. And sometimes the troublemaker is manipulated (by one of the parents) into punishing one of the other children. The fact that Walter and Irene to torment William indicates that Susan is being used this way. In fact, Walter “bursts into laughter as William turns to Susan and says, ‘You are committing a mortal sin.'”

    Brad seems to be what counselors call the “lost child.” The lost child is the child that never gets his/her fair share of attention because of all of the drama that the other family members stir up. He is mentioned by name only about three times and the author only reports one line of dialogue from him. Brad reports that he “know[s] what a mortal sin is”, perhaps as an attempt to get into the discussion. He is promptly shot down by James who says that “everyone know that.” Brad doesn’t say anything else.

    Carol is the four-year-old “baby” of the family. The author reports that she has “learned to be feisty and short-tempered; she seems somehow always dogged, face into the wind, dauntless.” The author also hints that Carol is a little on the clingy side, stating that she “whines” when Irene tells her to go play. She is also unceremoniously dropped on the ground when she attempts to physically cling to Walter.

    By far most of the words and phrases dealing with characterization are devoted to Walter. When we first see Walter, he is “hung over.” The fifth paragraph on page eighteen describes him as being “anxious to please.” The author goes on to say that Irene will ask her parents for money and that she “controls the money, now, what there is of it.” That tells us that Walter is financially irresponsible. The fact that he has worked seven different jobs at age forty-six indicates that he had difficulties keeping a job.

    Walter is a terrible liar who manipulates his wife into feeling sorry for him by claiming to drink because he “get[s] real bad nervous.” He is also casually brutal to Carol, dropping her onto her rear-end and telling her that she isn’t hurt.

    His showdown with William also indicates immaturity. He actually gloats when he “wins” the dispute. When William once again tries to engage him, he angrily declares that he “can beat the shit out of Father Boyer.” This tirade also gives us a glimpse into Walter’s capacity for anger and serves as foreshadowing for what happens at the end of the story.

  6. Farrah Benoit Says:

    This story wasnt necessarily that interesting to me or fun to read. We see the the character Walter, a drunk, who cant keep a job currently working as a “night clerk at a 7-Eleven store.” We are also presented with Irene the protagonist who tries to ensure the financial stability in her family and keep things together. My favorite character William was awkwardly the hero of the story in that he had a lot going for him and was the sane person who was misread. He keeps the reader on edge with how he behaves and how strangely the other characters view him in the story. This interpretation of William I was able to grasp was through third person narration, like Onyekachi stated, with the use of pronouns he and she.

  7. Antony Klugman Says:

    Sad, yet hopeful. Memories have a power all there own, and is it possible that those memories, given enough time to marinate within his mind,have now inspired him to take a real step. He hasn’t had a drink, and he’s in a church. (AA anyone..?)

  8. Rachel Shupe Says:

    I loved the character of William in this story. He is already carrying the burden of fear that he will become his father. He has picked his poison (religion) and is already nearly crazed with it. He has chosen something that can possibly become as equally harmful as his father’s drinking and his grandfather’s violence were. We already see how uncomfortable it makes his family- he is passing judgement on his sister and father. He is already planning his martyrdom- for some reason these men don’t seem to be able to handle a long term existence. Religion seems that it should be something to help a person become better and kinder. It is not working this way for William. This parallell between alcoholism and religion really intrigues me.

    Regarding Walter, I was interested in this from Ebony’s post:
    Walter is a terrible liar who manipulates his wife into feeling sorry for him by claiming to drink because he “get[s] real bad nervous.” He is also casually brutal to Carol, dropping her onto her rear-end and telling her that she isn’t hurt.

    This is interesting because it so firmly casts Walter in the villain role. On first reading of the story, Irene seems almost saintly. She calmly puts up with Walter’s drinking. However, a relationship and it’s problems are never one sided. Alcoholism does not creep in overnight, it takes a long time to really kick in. And when she says “she will not cater to his hangovers anymore”, we wonder how long she has been catering to his hangovers? Also, if we were to reverse the roles, with an alcoholic mother and a ‘saintly’ father, the man would be percieved as weak for having put up with it for so long. Or would we still percieve him as being kind and long suffering?

  9. Alan Liu Says:

    I like this story because it is funny how the father treat the kidss. He is very immature and a asshole. He is a drunk. Thoughout the whole story he tries to change but at the end he ends up going back to it. He abuses the kid by verbally abusing them. For example, in the dinner table he kept starting with the son about his faith. Overall this story is good.

  10. Angelina Petrova Says:

    this is a very emotional story. I feel very bad for Walter, who was struggling with a drinking problem his entire life and as a result has lost his family. the story is structured the way that at the beginning I didn’t care for him and in some cases he really annoyed me (like at the dinner table when he was arguing with William). or when the family was at the park and he was sneaking away to drink alcohol. he looked really miserable to me and I was just thinking why can’t he just get it together. but as the story went on, I started changing my mind towards him. it turned out that the reason of his drinking was a deep emotional trauma caused by his father. he became an alcoholic because of the fear that he will be the same awful father to his children. it is very sad because all the problems were happening only when he was drunk and the family couldn’t put up with this anymore.

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