The Hallowe’en Party – Character Description
The “Hallowe’en Party” by Miriam Waddington, tells the tale of an immigrant father who does not want his children to be assimilated into western culture. Although he has strong ties with his Russian-Jewish heritage, he learns to have an open mind for the sake of his childrens’ happiness. Mr. Luria proves himself to be a reasonable parent, while still expressing his deep concern for his children’s cultural beliefs.
David and Helen’s father initially demonstrates his deep culture through his stern demeanor towards his children. He exhibits subconscious nostalgia when he purchases the farm plot on the plains of Manitoba, as he “searched without knowing, for landscapes that were like his old home”. His unaware longing for the flat topography of Russia demonstrates how much he really misses the nation. Albeit his change in geographical location, the scenery, just like his cultural values, remain the same as before he immigrated. His commitment to his religious beliefs are challenged when his children bring up the Halloween party. Despite their urging, Mr. Luria still does not change his stance on the topic. He displays his initial will to stick to his opinion on the party, indicating his inherent obstinacy towards western values. Luria’s traditional values are also displayed during his conversation with his neighbor, Dan. The father only listens to Dan and acknowledges his point because Dan is the male head of his household. Dan’s words hold weight with Mr. Luria because Dan is his family’s leader. The father’s tenacity is understandable, though as he boldly reminds his neighbor, that his people’s background is that of difficulty and hardship. The father’s protectiveness over his traditions is recognizable because he believes that his people have fought long and hard in order to preserve them, and therefore they should be instilled in his children. Essentially, Luria’s strict and traditional aspirations for his family are rooted in the depth of his cultural background.
In spite of this, the father develops an open mind about his children’s cultural practices as he begins to interact with his new neighbors. He listens to what Dan has to say about his children’s attitude towards the party, and acknowledges Dan’s viewpoints with understanding. He is not stubborn or unyielding, and respects his neighbor’s sentiments. His willingness to accept Dan’s opinions about the party displays Mr. Luria’s receptive side, as a reasonable adult. He considers Dan’s words carefully, especially when Dan alludes to his children’s potential resentment, if he does not let them attend the party, by asking “…keeping them away from the party isn’t going to teach them?”. Regardless of this determinedness to keep his traditional ties, Mr. Luria is still a father, and cares deeply for his children. He contemplates how his actions might affect his family’s dynamic, and finally decides that his children’s happiness carries great weight. Eventually, he allows his children to attend the party, having placed his desire to be a good parent above all else. Luria realizes that in an effort to keep the rigidity of his religion implanted in this children, he has ignored his their contentment. Admirably, he reinforces his commitment, not only to his children’s happiness, but to his family’s as well. The father of the short story doubtlessly displays his engagement in his family and puts their happiness before his fear of their acculturation to canadian life.
Mr Luria proves himself to be a dynamic character, as he learns through his interaction with Dan that a careful balance between rigidity and reasonableness must be struck when instructing his children. Still a new parent, Luria takes Dan’s advice and allows his children to attend the party, successfully placating their desire for for amusement, while still managing to remind them of the dangers of assimilation. All of his efforts to save his children from the influence of western society, while not for nothing, are put on hold so that he can give them a new and exciting experience.