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The Great Santini by Pat Conroy

In the novel The Great Santini by Pat Conroy, the reader meets the main character, Bull Meechem. Bull Meechem had many outstanding traits good and awful. Bull Meechem can be mistakenly called a racist though he is truly an abusive father, and yet he is courageous and honorable at times of war and then at moment before his death. Bulls male desire to have control over his family often gets the best of him, the reader witnesses him physically and mentally attacking his family in drunken rages control for self confidence and for just pure dominance.

Throughout the novel Bull expresses how at times he acts like how he believed white southerners should act by making degrading comments to African Americans. The reader also is able to see the image of an American dream when they experience Bull serving in the Marine Corps. Bull Meechem was born in Chicago he married Lillian and then moved down south. When living their Bull was influenced by some aspects of southerners, You hear me? Keep out of that nigger shit. Bull Meechem is not really a racist but he has just taken on southern life and believes its accepted.

Bull is what psychologists call an alpha male. Bull Meechem has a self-confidence problem he must constantly establish his dominance over his family. When Mary Anne tries to condone Bull on his loss instead of saying thank your or just ignoring her he tell her Get out of here before I start knocking every freckle off your face This comment was obviously unnecessary and offend Mary Anne deeply. Another horrible side to Bull is his physical abuse to Lillian and the kids. Countless times Bull has struck either Lillian or the kids.

Though Lillian denies it Ben reminds her and the reader that Bull has struck her in the past. Your nose was bleeding and thats how I ruined this T-shirt. Ive kept it, Mama, because I wanted it as proof. This is your blood, Mama. Your blood He never hit me Lillian insisted. These tantrums by Bull only alienate his children and his wife from him but he can still obtain their utmost respect and discipline. Colonel Bull Meechem is a man who walks into a bar and instantly gets a drink bought for him by a fellow serviceman.

Bull Meechem may have beaten his family acted like a racist and stumble in the door drunk but he is described as on of the most honorable prideful and respectable Marine fighter pilots in the history of the corps. At the moment before his death Bull had a choice save him self and be at risk at killing others or stay in the plane until it is safely away from civilian areas. Populated areas. The phrase meant something to Bull. That was where people lived and slept, where families slept. Families like my family, wives like my wife, sons like my sons, daughters like my daughters.

He was now bulldogging a fatally stricken F-8 that was beginning to break up inside itself, beginning to destroy its own vitals. He needed sight and he needed it badly. When he was about to go down, he had a fundamental choice save himself or others. Bull Meechem to the valiant choice he chose the lives of the others. Bull Meechem led a life he believed fit. He has tried to rule his family as he saw fit. He tried to fit in down south by adapting some of their cultures and then being misconstrued as a racist. He also served his country in the most heroic manner possible. He was a man that everyone wanted to hate but everyone grew to love.

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