205
Absent Fathers of The Wire
By
Meghan Collins
he Wire, throughout its many seasons,
illustrates a myriad of dysfunctional,
manipulative, and neglectful relationships,
showing the consequential effects of these failed
connections on a broader social scale. The
relationships between parent and child, and specifically
father-son relationships as represented in the series,
are characteristic of such failures and show countless
absentee fathers and struggling, single mothers living
in stressful, impoverished conditions as a societal norm
in the respective communities portrayed. The
relationship between Chester “Ziggy” Sobatka and his
father Frank Sobatka in the second season of the
series is a powerful example. Their relationship
signifies the internal conflict and the limited ability of a
son to develop a healthy identity when growing up
without a positive, male figure present with the
absence fuelling an unquenchable desire for attention
compounded by abnormal social interactions. The
financial and emotional effects of neglectful fathers,
especially evident in the underprivileged living
conditions of the Barksdale crew and others in “The
Game,” can be directly traced to the absence of fathers
in most of the families within the community. This
additional stress then leads to the vulnerability of the
children, who must try to survive such conditions where
T
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