The Film & More|
Interview Transcripts | Bibliography | Primary Sources
From Mother's Pen: Letter #1
When Oscar L. Booz died in the fall of 1901, his parents blamed his death on
the cruel hazing he had been subjected to as a West Point cadet. When the
story received front-page coverage, President McKinley demanded that West Point
conduct an inquiry into hazing at the Academy. Having bravely withstood his
own hazing ordeal, cadet Douglas MacArthur now faced an even more difficult
challenge: should he name names, and risk being called a snitch, or refuse to
cooperate, and risk his military career?
"Pinky" gave her son encouragement in the form of a poem. What do you think
she was encouraging him to do? What does the poem say about their
relationship, or mother-son relationships in general at the turn of the
century? Here is the poem in its entirety:
Do you know that your soul is of my soul such a part
That you seem to be fiber and core of my heart?
None other can pain me as you, son, can do;
None other can please me or praise me as you.
Remember the world will be quick with its blame
If shadow or shame ever darken your name.
Like mother like son is saying so true
The world will judge largely of mother by you.
Be this then your task, if task it shall be
To force this proud world to do homage to me.
Be sure it will say, when its verdict you've won
She reaps as she sowed: "This man is her son!"
Back to Primary Sources | next letter