Themes and message

Father-son relationships

In “Braces” by Nick Werber, the author explores three relationships: Nick’s relationship with his grandfather and with his father, and his father’s relationship with his grandfather.

In all three relationships, we notice the father-son dynamic – even in Nick’s relationship with his grandfather, since his grandfather acts more like a typical father than Nick’s father does (he pays for his school, he is concerned with Nick's education and future profession).

Meanwhile, Nick’s father acts more like a friend towards Nick – although he tries to bond with Nick and to encourage him to be creative, he fails to support Nick through school and, consequently, to stand up to Nick’s grandfather and his requirements for Nick’s education. Moreover, he criticises his own father in front of Nick and tries to appear cool when they are together, suggesting that he wants a bond with Nick that is more like a friendship than a traditional father-son relationship.

The relationship between Nick’s father and his grandfather is distant and strained. The story suggests that the grandfather’s controlling behaviour towards his own son has permanently affected their relationship – they cannot share their feelings with each other or discuss their concerns as equals.

Although Nick’s father and his gra...

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