Split Cherry Tree Imagine a dad having a problem with a high school teacher and taking it to the school; however, imagine him having a gun while doing it! In “Split Cherry Tree” a young high school student’s father struggles to keep an open mind. Dave, the main character, breaks a cherry tree while on a field trip with his class. His father, which he calls Pa, immediately assumes that the teachers do not supervise the students and rushes to the school with a gun. In “Split Cherry Tree” by Jesse Stuart, the theme is that people should always keep an open mind.
Dave being the first child to attend schooling, Pa’s disbelief with bacteria, and Pa’s conflict with Professor Herbert portrays this. To show this theme, the story explains Dave going to school for the first time in his family history. When Dave returns home late from school, Pa yells to Dave, “Make a gentleman out’n one boy in the family and this is what you get! Send you to high school and you get too ornery for the buzzards to smell” (2). Supporting the fact that Dave is the only child from the family to attend school, Pa mentions that Dave is supposed to be a gentleman because he sent him there.
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Furthermore, Pa never knew the concept of bacteria before Professor Herbert explained it to him; although as soon as he gave it a chance, he believed Professor. While arguing in the classroom, Professor Herbert asks Pa if he knew what germs were. Pa replied, “Yes, but I don’t believe in germs. I’m 65 years old and I ain’t seen one yet” (7). After the Professor shows Pa, Pa explains that for his whole life, he feels as if he has had a closed mind. He believes that “seeing is believing. When Professor shows Pa the germs through a microscope, Pa says, “Oh, I believe you” (9). bacteria, he believed in it. As proved, once Professor Herbert taught Pa about bacteria, Pa realized that bacteria was a real thing, and that opening his mind can teach him a lot. Despite everything that Pa learns throughout the story, Pa strongly judges and disapproves the way Professor Herbert treats the students in the high school. On page 6, Pa yells at Dave saying, “What kind of school is it nohow! Didn’t do that, my son, when I’s a little shaver in school.
All fared in school”(6). Evidenced by this quote, Pa is extremely livid with the way Professor Herbert runs his school. As well as when Pa was in the classroom with Professor Herbert. Pa yells, “What study? Bug study? Varmint study? Takin youngins to th’ woods and their poor old ma’s and pa’s at home a-slavin to keep ‘em in school and give ‘em a education” (6). Pa is belittling the way Professor Herbert teaches even though he doesn’t know anything about education. The school and staff may just have a different way of teaching than Pa was taught.