ISAAC


Only child of Abe and Sylvia.  Born when Sylvia was 19 and Abe was 33.  Abe was from the start a stern and distant father;  a provider and disciplinarian.  During the course of Isaac's upbringing his parents were engaged in a ceaseless tug-of-war over the control of the family's destiny.  The major battleground was the issue of family size.  Abe insisted to Sylvia that one child was all they could afford if they wanted to maintain the quality of life they presently enjoyed:  any more children and the combination of lost time, energy, and money would initiate a downward slide.  Left unstated by Abe was his unconscious jealousy of Isaac.  During the course of his twenty-some years spent as the sole object of his mother's attentions, Abe had grown accustomed to being the center of a woman's world.  Isaac's diversion of Sylvia’s attentions away from Abe engendered in Abe a resentment towards Isaac that became a permanent component of his emotional make-up;  and eventually of Isaac's as well.  The thought of even more children coming between him and Sylvia was unbearable to Abe.

Sylvia, while intuitively sensing Abe's underlying motives for his demand of no further children, found herself unable to either overcome his objections or to simply disobey him, such was Abe's stature and power in her eyes.  Sylvia too, in her turn, found resentment taking root in her soul.  Gradually adopting the strategy of ever more completely devoting herself to Isaac, she managed to create the very situation Abe had desired to avoid; yet, ironically, this resulted in providing Isaac with exactly the same nurturing/suffocating environment that Abe himself grew up in.  In other words, Abe's actions towards Sylvia, motivated by the desire to maintain his central position in the life of the woman closest to him, to enable him to maintain his sense of self that he had carried with him from his own upbringing, had instead the net result of forcing his wife into the role of his mother and thereby endowing Isaac with that same sense of self.  Thus, while Abe did succeed in maintaining the self he had inherited, he did not succeed in doing so in his own being as he intended, but rather in the person of Isaac.

In a downward spiral of growing animosity this state of affairs led Abe to harbor an ever-increasing resentment for his son.  Isaac was at best only dimly aware of the dynamic involved in the decay of his relations with his father.   Abe, blinded by his frustrated rage, was completely oblivious.   Ultimately, the status quo between father and son deteriorated to such a degree that Isaac became completely alienated from his father and found himself, almost as though against his own will, searching for an alternative father figure.  He found this figure in Farid, a composer and performer of jazz who possesses a highly spiritual world view, and has subsequently dedicated himself to becoming Walid's disciple.

And as Isaac's awareness of his mother's role in his incipient alienation from his father's being and the consequent imposition of his father's persona upon his own, he began to look away from her and towards a new source of emotional sustenance.  He feels that he may have found what he is looking for in Beatrice.
 
 

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