Leaving home does not mean abandoning ones traditions and beliefs. One will find new truths with their new surroundings; one may reject these truths if they so desire. Canadian author Henry Kreisel uses irony throughout his short story The Broken Globe. It is an ironic drama that demonstrates the relationship between a father and son. Nick Solchuck, geophysicist, is the son of a man who believes the Earth to be flat and still. Many immigrants who leave their native land hold strongly to traditions and beliefs; this is particularly hard for Mr. Solchuck considering new world realizations and the ironic success of his son, Nick. Mr.
Solchuck grew up in a small Ukrainian village where he was educated by a medieval priest. He believed that everyone spoke against what he had learned in that school was turning to Satan. He grew up in a place where “the sun rose in the East and set in the West,” … (Kreisel 143), this demonstrates how medieval Mr. Solcuck’s education was, he literally grew up in a time and place that people believed the sun was mobile. This held him back his entire life as he could not even accept the possibility of new concepts. With prolonged hatred towards the French, Mr. Solchuck is deeply offended when his son, Nick is practicing French under his roof.
Kreisel includes this part of the story because it links to a bigger issue of Mr. Solchuck’s poor education and ignorance. Nick Solchuck realizes about his father: “He wasn’t mad but that he lived in the universe of the medieval church,” (Kreisel 143). This was Nick coming to the clearing of an internal storm representing the relationship between him and his father. Mr. Solchuck was holding strongly to what he knew to be true. “That thing over there,” (Kreisel 148), Mr. Solchuck refers to his son Nick’s globe, “it’s a false thing,” (Kreisel 148) he states confidently. Nick had brought the globe home when he was 13 years old.
Mr. Solchuck’s inability to accept the globe’s shape and his son’s acceptance of it results in a broken globe. The broken globe is a symbol of Mr. Solchuck’s battle with his sons success’ and beliefs. Mr. Solchuck physically attacks the globe because it goes so beyond his beliefs. This event is so significant in Kreisel’s short story, that the title is in direct relation with it. It is not easy for Mr. Solchuck to stay true to his beliefs, and traditions from his Ukrainian background while his son Nick takes to the new world realizations, and finds success in becoming a geophysicist.
Mr. Solchuck was taught that the Earth was flat, and that anyone who spoke against what he’d been taught was turning to Satan. Mr. Solchuck’s old fashioned grudge-holding, abusive ways to attempt to halt the education of Nick Solchuck; Nick knows his father is not mad, he knows there is something to be respected in what comes off as ignorance. The broken globe that stands between t he father and son is symbolic in represent Mr. Solchuck’s struggle and inability to accept science.