“The Rake: A Few Scenes from My Childhood” by David Mamet had an important theme that violence is cyclical. We see that the grandfather in the story beat the mother and the mother inflicted this same kind of pain on her children. At the end of the story Mamet ends up accidentally hurting his sister. This theme stood out to me because the people who inflict pain in this story seem to be doing so out of frustration, disappointment, and their own personal pain. The grandfather beat the mother because his wife wouldn’t have sex with him. The mother most likely beat her children because that is what she knew as a child and also because she was concealing her own pain from being beaten. David throws the rake at his sister because he is frustrated at having to rake leaves on a lawn that he doesn’t even appreciate. The idea that frustration breeds violence in the Mamet family made me think that this same frustration must be let out in different ways in other families. Not all families are violent but most people have things that frustrate or disappoint them in their lives.
I guess that my family’s way of de-stressing is to pray or laugh together. We take a lot of family vacations too, probably because my dad has a really stressful job. Maybe other people are able to bury their upsetting emotions without any violent consequences but I think that most people have to let their feelings out in some way. The parents were unable to acknowledge their pain and because of that they took out their bottled up feelings on their children. I think that we can learn from Mamet’s relation of the parents violence that we have to recognize the things that hurt us in order to not let them affect us. Maybe if the mother and stepfather dealt with their problems instead of concealing them they wouldn’t have hurt David’s sister.
Another thing that became apparent when I read about this cycle of violence in “The Rake” was that this domestic violence will continue unless it is acknowledged for what it is. None of the family members would mention the violence that went on and because of that it was kind of like they were accepting it as normal and allowing it to happen. When we encounter violence we need to speak out against it in order to prevent ourselves from becoming accustomed to it and eventually repeating that violence. I think that this theme of a cycle of violence leads into the theme of silence and complicity. By remaining silent as violence goes on we are actually condoning it.