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Son of Satan Short Story

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Analysis of the short story ‘Son of Satan’


Charles Bukowski wrote the short story ‘Son of Satan’. Charles Bukowski’s writing was influenced by the social heritage and the economic ambiance of Charles’ hometown of Los Angeles. Charles’ stories are based on the social heritage and how the adult’s behavior has a big influence on their kids. The short story ‘Son of Satan’ was published in 1982.    

The short story is a story about 4 young boys Hass, Morgan, the narrator and Simpson.
It was a summer day and Hass, Morgan and the narrator, were sitting behind the garage, smoking cigarettes. They were talking about the lonely boy Simpson that also lived in the neighborhood. The narrator claims that Simpson was lying about having sex with a girl under the house of the narrator and therefore they start beating Simpson, whereupon they try to hang him. But Simpson survives and then the narrator gets in some serious trouble.  

The narrator is a boy, who is eleven years old, and he is the main character in the story. Even though the narrator is the youngest in the group, the two other boys are twelve, the narrator is the leader of the group.[1] We are getting an insight view of the narrator’s mindset. We quickly realize, based on the smoking, their use of foul language, and their overall bad attitudes, that the narrator and his two friends are bullies. The narrator tries to prove his worth[2], so that Hass and Morgan will respect him. The narrator is the one who starts the talk about Simpson and leads the others to punish him, for allegedly lying about sleeping with a girl.

Simpson is a freckled boy and a loner. Simpson is only described from the three boys perspective, so we don’t get that much information about him. Simpson would actually have liked to be accepted by the boys, and that is also the reason why he lies about sleeping with a girl under the narrator’s house.[3]

It can be argued that the narrator is the son of Satan,[4] but then who is Satan? I would claim that the father is Satan. Instead of talking with the narrator about his actions, the father beat him up, and in my opinion, the father is worse than his son. You have a responsibility when you have children. You must teach them what is right and what is wrong and not by the use of violence.

The narrator's motivation for his actions is his situation at home. The norms and values you learn at home are your motivation for your actions. He has a violent father[5] and children of that age are quickly affected by their parents' actions.

The main theme of the short story is violence. The short story contains bullying and domestic violence. The message with the story is that children who bully are influenced by their parent's behavior and by what they see in adult society. The author’s message with the story is that kids see their parents as role models.

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