Red Sky At Morning: Stepping Into Adulthood

Red Sky At Morning by Richard Bradford, is a coming of age novel thatillustrates the maturing of a young man. In the summer of 1944, Frank Arnold, awealthy shipbuilder in Mobile, Alabama, receives his volunteer commission in theU.S. Navy. He moves his wife, Ann, and seventeen-year-old son, Josh, to thefamily’s summer home in the village of Corazon Sagrado, high in the New Mexicomountains.

Mrs. Arnold finds it impossible to cope with the quality of life in thelargely Hispanic village. Josh, more the son of his father than his mother, becomesan integral member of the Sagrado community, forging friendships with classmatesat Helen De Crispin school, with the town’s resident artist, with ChangoLopez–macho bully turned model student–and with Amadeo and ExcildaMontoya, the couple hired by his father to care for their house. Josh narrates thestory of his fateful year in Sagrado and reveals the events and people whoinfluence his progress to maturity. Josh matures throughout the book into a youngman who learns the understanding of change, responsibility, and duty.

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Josh stays strong through the changes he goes through and it helps himmature into the man he becomes. When his family moves to Sagrado he makesnew friends and adapts well to the new environment he is put into. Josh staysopen-minded when making friends at school. He gets to know many differentkings of people. Unlike his mother he doesnt judge people by where they live ortheir racial background.His mother does not adjust to the changes as well asJosh does.

Josh is faced to handle the responsibilities of taking care of his home, hismother, and himself. His mother takes a turn for the worse in dealing with thechanges of Sagrado and her husbands death. She gets caught up in alcohol andleaves Josh to take care of her.Her behavior got to the point that he had to call adoctor.

I hoped I wouldnt have to call Dr. Temple again professionally, butmothers behavior had been pretty strange last night. (129).

Josh is not onlyresponsible for his mother but he takes care of himself and his house. Mother thisis getting silly. Youre going to get sicker and sicker unless you start eating andstop all that sherry-drinking. I dont know how to run the house and I dont knowhow to cook (133).

Josh matures throughout the book by taking responsibility and steppingup to his duties. While his father is in the Navy he writes a letter informing Joshthat he will being taking over all the duties where his father is absent. I do herebyappoint my Son, Joshua M. Arnold, aged seventeen years, my Agent and Attorneyin Fact, and do further State that he may issue, give and pronounce Orders, Edicts,Commands, Directions and Ukases pertinent and relevant to the Operation of saidHousehold and abutting Lands. (169-170) As a seventeen year old he is forced totake on the duties of his father.

He not only does this willingly but also decides tofollow in his fathers footsteps by enlisting in the Navy. At the post office, theNavy recruiting chief said that two years was the minimum, so I took the two years(255). Josh takes on a lot more than most seventeen year old boys. Josh grows up fast and becomes a very responsible young man. Headapts well to his new life and takes care of his mother when she cant. The dutiesof his father become his and he handles them with maturity and proves he is a man. Red Sky At Morning is a great coming of age novel and Josh is the perfectcharacter to illustrate it.