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They were hoping for a whole houseful of kids, but the Lord decided to give them one instead, a very special one… Benny came out in high gear and never shifted down.

This quote from Tobias Wolfe’s “The Night In Question” stands out to me the most because, despite the fact Frank didn’t sound similar to Benny, many children with special needs experience abuse similar to what Frank experienced with his father, Frank senior. While Frank may not have directly been a child with born special needs, the inability for one person to understand another draws tension between the parties, and the abuse he suffered from his father could have created some social disadvantages. Frank senior may have gotten along better with Frank if he was more like Benny, instead of being described as “plain in speech, neither formal nor folksy, so spare and somethings harsh that his jokes sounded like challenges or insults.” (2) However, Frank Jr. can’t act the same as Benny, because of the abuse from his father, how he acts socially is greatly impacted by the abuse from his father.

Another reason could be the fact Frances, Frank’s sister, was able to understand Frank’s difference in personality, which Frank senior could not. Frances’ ability to understand Frank, however, could stem from her desire to have her father’s attention, which was spent mostly on grooming Frank into his ideal son, and the feeling of taking over her late mother’s responsibility. Frances’ father sabotages her marriage, invades her home, and causes trouble at her work (3). Her ability to understand her sibling creates tension in her life with her father, but also breaks his attention from Frank’s inability to change, to focus on Frances’ direct disobedience in caring for Frank.

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