Theme of Forgiveness or Reconciliation

Novel, Catch Us If You Can – Theme of Forgiveness or Reconciliation

Using details from the novel you have studied, write on the theme of forgiveness OR reconciliation.
Support your answer with close reference to the text.


In Catherine MacPhail‟s „Catch Us If You Can‟, Rory has been cared for by his grandfather whom he calls Granda for as long as he remembers. According to Granda, his own father was a spoilt brat of a boy; just mentioning him would make Granda angry. He grew up to be someone who did not appreciate what he got and left Rory‟s mother who later died of heartbreak. And that was when the senior McIntosh decided to cut all ties with his son. He is adamant that the only son he had is Rory and he can very well take care of the boy.

The irony of the situation is, Rory has been looking after his Granda who is not well and needs medications for all sorts of ailments. As a result, Rory has to look after him, take him to the doctor, prepare his lunch and make sure he takes his medicines – all too big a responsibility for a young boy like him. Despite the difficulties, both Rory and Granda refuse to be separated, as any solution would entail sending the old man to a nursing home and the boy, a children‟s home.

However, after Granda accidentally sets fire in their flat, he is sent to Rachnadar, an old folks‟ home and Rory to the children‟s home in Castle Street. They cannot bear being separated. Rory takes Granda out from the home and both go on a run. Soon, the police is looking for them. News about them appears on the media. Rory and Granda manage to evade the police because they get help from people who sympathize with them along their journey.

Investigations reveal that Rory‟s father, Jeff Mcintosh is in Liverpool and they are advised to go and see him. While on their way to Liverpool, Granda becomes too sick. The police is informed by one of the people who helps them, Norma, who feels that the old man needs immediate help. Jeff, with the help of the authorities, arrives to take his father and his son with him. Both father and son are reconciled and Rory finds his long-lost father. Jeff is ready to take on his responsibilities as a son to his father, Granda, and as a father to his son, Rory.

The story ends with a reconciliation between the ageing and ailing father and the son he has vowed to disown, Jeff. As for Rory, it is a happy reunion with the father he has never known.