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Morningside Heights


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Spence tries to connect with Arlo. Do you feel his overtures are successful? Is there anything you think he should have done otherwise?

Created: 09/23/21

Replies: 13

Posted Sep. 23, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2732

Spence tries to connect with Arlo. Do you feel his overtures are successful? Is there anything you think he should have done otherwise?

Spence tries to connect with Arlo, particularly when his son is young. Do you feel his overtures are successful? Why or why not? Is there anything you think he should have done otherwise?


Posted Sep. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 527

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

I do think he does his best to connect with Arlo, but I also question how successful he is. The one section I really felt called Spence's attempts to help Arlo into question was his getting Arlo (a kid with dyslexia) a job at a bookstore. Not, in my opinion, the best approach.


Posted Sep. 24, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 215

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

Spence tried but he seemed to only be able to see things from his own perspective. Also Arlo was misled by his mother about so many things and she also kept him from his dad most of the time. By the time Arlo came to live with them, he was way past his formative years and it was just too hard to change his entire viewpoint.


Posted Sep. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 209

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

I think just about all part-time parents try too hard and create many issues in so doing. I'm not suggesting it's an easy situation because many carry a huge burden of guilt for the pain inflicted on their families and seem to overcompensate. But Spence seemed to be able to moderate some of that and many of my favorite scenes in the book were when he and Arlo were alone together, just having a conversation or sharing an experience.

And to Kimk's comments above, yes it was quite ironic that Spence got Arlo a job in a book store. This showed the huge gulf between the two. Spence was trying to use what was so dear to him - books and learning - as a bridge to Arlo and some times the choices were poor. I had to smile reading about his daily definition tutoring and found it quite poignant that Arlo saved many of these "lessons" which seemed to become a sort of talisman for his relationship with Spence.


Posted Sep. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melissa c.

Join Date: 01/10/21

Posts: 62

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

I wasn't all that convinced about Spence's efforts to connect with Arlo. There were moments when I felt Spence was trying out of obligation - "that's what a good father does" - rather than a sincere desire to get to know and bond with his son.


Posted Sep. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gerrieb

Join Date: 09/03/19

Posts: 125

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

I agree with peggyt and paulak. I think Spence tried to connect with Arlo in the only ways he knew how. He tried to share his love of books and learning, that was his strength. I do think that Linda’s continual lies created an almost insurmountable obstacle to Spence’s efforts to connect with his son. I wish Spence had been more forthcoming with Arlo about his efforts to have him more in his life and how Linda prevented it. However, while I see the dangers in doing that, I don’t think it would have made things any worse, and perhaps it might have provided a more honest and firm foundation to begin their relationship.


Posted Sep. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritai

Join Date: 02/15/17

Posts: 24

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

I think that Spence did his best to connect with Arlo but he had a hard time seeing things from Arlo's perspective. His interests in life were all about books, learning and education which were the complete opposite of Linda's interests. Since Arlo spent most of his formative years with Linda, he had a hard time understanding Spence's point of view. I feel that if Linda didn't prevent Spence from spending time together, he and Arlo would've had a much different relationship. I think Spence truly felt he was helping Arlo by getting him a job at the bookstore, perhaps even in hopes that he could overcome his dyslexia by being surrounded by books.


Posted Sep. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 324

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

Arlo would have been a different child if he had spent more time with his father when he was younger. Spence did try and showed him a lot of love to the extent that Sarah was feeling neglected. Arlo needed to try harder to fit in with the family. Why did he need to walk around the house naked? Why cut Sarah’s hair? I think both Spence and Pru did a good job welcoming him into the family. I wish that he had stayed with them.


Posted Sep. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliep

Join Date: 04/07/12

Posts: 180

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

Too many times parents try to connect with their kids on their own (the parents’) terms, instead of thinking of the child’s needs first. If Spence had thought of how Arlo’s mother was raising him, or asked Arlo, or tried to find out, their relationship might have been better. Spence really thought of Arlo as an extension of himself, when Arlo was nowhere near an academic.


Posted Oct. 01, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lorrained

Join Date: 12/04/20

Posts: 50

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

I think that Spence tried to connect with Arlo without truly understanding what it was that interested or motivated Arlo. Spence's life was all in the box of societal norms and it seems that he didn't know what he didn't know to connect - but how would he? The same for Arlo. Relationships are complicated and it did seem that perhaps Pru could have somehow been involve to mitigate in the behalf of both; I don't recall that happening.


Posted Oct. 06, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckys

Join Date: 08/12/16

Posts: 125

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

I do think Spence was trying to connect with Arlo, but I also felt he put a lot of pressure on him to be someone that he wasn't. Arlos dyslexia and the fact that he had had little formal education, was something that made me really feel for him and when his dad started giving him big vocabulary words to memorize, it almost felt cruel to me. I do think Spence was doing what he felt was best for Arlo, and in no way wanted to demean him, but I do think he really put pressure on Arlo to be someone that Spence wanted him to be.


Posted Oct. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannev

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 41

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

I really though Spence was a terrible parent as far as Arlo was concerned. But perhaps I felt that because I really didn't care for Spence - he didn't even begin to understand Arlo and wanted him to be a minature version of himself. Spence was so self-involved I thought.


Posted Oct. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbettet

Join Date: 10/01/20

Posts: 19

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

I know from personal experience that being a stepparent is difficult. Both Spence and Linda put their own interests before Arlo. But Spence does try in his flawed way--the bookstore job shows that he can't see what Arlo needs. Some of Arlo's bizarre actions perhaps keep everyone from going the extra mile.


Posted Nov. 10, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 145

RE: Spence tries to connect with Arlo. ...

Spence does his best to connect with Arlo. Spence has to overcome the prejudice that Arlo's mom has ingrained in him. She certainly mistreats Arlo in many ways and one of them is telling him his father does not care about spending time with him. Spence feels helpless to correct that misinformation, but he tries.


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