The relationship between father and son in the novel by J. Aldridge “The Last inch”

The relationship between father and son in the novel by J. Aldridge “The Last inch”

The plot of the novel by James Aldridge is externally rather simple. Briefly it can be conveyed as follows: pilot Ben flew to Shark Bay on the Red Sea to take photos of sharks. He took Devi’s son with him. Ben was injured by a shark and could not fly a plane. Then he showed Devi how to fly the plane, and he, under the guidance of his father, landed the plane on the ground. That’s all. A happy ending. All remained alive. Everything ended well. But this is only an external outline of events. Behind them is the tense relationship of an adult man and a little boy, their difficult path towards each other.

Ben was an experienced pilot, but after forty years of real flying work had to be forgotten. In addition, he did not have a relationship with his wife, and he had little contact

with his ten-year-old son, Devi. The boy was strange and incomprehensible to him. Ben even regretted taking it with him: the plane mercilessly tossed, and Devi, unable to stand it, cried with fright. Ben did not know how to talk with his son, answered the questions of the child too sharply, and he was afraid of his father, afraid to stay alone on the beach.

The pilot decided to shoot a film about sharks, ordered to him by one TV company. To do this, he had to get close to the sharks as close as possible. But he poorly calculated and dirty blood from the meat, which served as a bait for fish. The sharks went straight at him and grabbed him with their teeth. Ben miraculously got ashore and lost consciousness. The first thing he saw when he came to himself was the face of the frightened Devi. “What should I do?” cried the boy. The pilot knew that he could not fly the plane, which meant the death of both him and his son. All hope was for a frightened, crying ten-year-old child. Ben, as he could, reassured his son and cautiously told Devi that he would have to lead the plane himself. No, he will not give up for anything! The boy obediently obeyed his father’s orders. “He will manage!” – Ben was delighted and fell asleep from weakness.

And Devi drove the plane. One, at an altitude of three

thousand feet, with the wind growing stronger. He did not cry anymore. His tears dried up all his life. But the most difficult was ahead – landing. It was the “last inch”, and everything was in the hands of the child. With all his might, losing consciousness, the father directed the actions of his son. Finally the plane touched the wheels of the earth… Devi saved his father’s life and himself. But not only that. At the brink of death, he and Ben crossed the inch that separated them.

Lying in the hospital where his left arm was amputated, Ben thought that now he would get to the heart of his son. Even if he needs all his life for this. The life that his ten-year-old son gave him…


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The relationship between father and son in the novel by J. Aldridge “The Last inch”