Why did Dr. Adler refuse to provide financial assistance to his son, Tommy Wilhelm

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Seize the Day is a notable literary work by Saul Bellow. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Seize the Day.


Assess the relationship between Dr. Adler and Tommy Wilhelm. Why did Dr. Adler refuse to provide financial assistance to his son, Tommy Wilhelm?

In Saul Bellow‘s (1915-2005) novel “Seize the Day,” Dr. Adler refuses to provide financial assistance to his son Tommy Wilhelm due to his frustration with Tommy’s lack of responsibility and constant financial mismanagement.

Disapproval of Tommy’s Poor Choices: Dr. Adler disapproves of Tommy’s life choices, particularly his lack of financial responsibility and career stability. Tommy has struggled with various unsuccessful incidents, including acting and stock trading. His father perceives him as reckless and misguided. Dr. Adler’s refusal reflects his belief that Tommy must take responsibility for his actions and learn from his mistakes.

Tough Love and Independence: Dr. Adler believed in teaching his son the value of self-reliance and personal responsibility. He thought that constantly bailing Tommy out financially would hinder his growth and prevent him from learning how to navigate life’s challenges. He states,

It’s better that I let you find your own level. I won’t always be around

Preserving Tommy’s Independence: Dr. Adler might have recognized the importance of Tommy learning to stand on his own feet. By withholding financial support, he could have been trying to ensure that Tommy develops the skills and mindset necessary to support himself without relying on his father’s assistance. This approach aligns with Dr. Adler’s desire to see his son become a self-sufficient and capable individual.

Dr. Adler’s refusal to provide financial assistance to Tommy reflects a complex mix of practical concerns, personal values, and his desire to teach his son essential life lessons.