Review Of The Story The “Baby” By Donald Barthelme

The “Baby” by Donald Barthelme, is a little uneasy story, about the baby who used to rip off pages from the books. The angry parents punished the baby by leaving her locked in a room for four hours and sometimes even longer depending on how many pages were torn out.

In the beginning, the father seemed to be more strict in punishing the child, whereas the mother could not handle the constant crying. Later on, the dad realized that it is not the right way to get rid of the issue by the absurd “hours behind closed doors” rule, but he also accompanied in the tearing out pages in the books as well as even smashing windshields on cars. It makes the reader wonder that there was something seriously wrong with the parenting skills. If the baby has some type on mental disability and the only way to keep them under control is by tearing out pages in a book, if not that, well then the reader might think it is something else.

At first glance of the title, one thinks it is going to be a loving story of a precious baby, but it’s the opposite of just that. The tone, in the beginning, is somewhat harsh, as spoken from the father’s point of view and when reading that, it makes one almost want to jump in and try and figure out what is wrong with the man, and help the poor baby out. the rule of being behind locked doors didn't change the baby’s behavior, in fact, she improved this activity obtaining a performance of two pages at a time. The parents wanted to teach her how it is to live in a world of rules but they were not aware of the fact that their child was only fourteen months old. They treated the baby like it was an adult when the dad says "we gave the baby some of our wine. . . and spoke seriously to her. " She is too young to understand it. Anyway, this behavior of the parents is absolutely strange and when the baby's father saw his method was not working, he began to feel sorry for what he did to his child, but he didn’t want to admit that it was wrong for him to do that.

So, he began to give his child more attention by sitting with her and tearing pages together out of books and sometimes smashing a windshield. And by doing that, he breaks his own rules and he still wouldn't admit that punishment was not the best way to bring up his child, he even suggests that no matter what method he chooses to experiment on his child are good. He says "that is one of the satisfying things about being a parent-you've got a lot of moves, each one good as gold".

29 April 2020
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