The Inheritance of Tools by Scott Russell Brown main purpose, I think, is to show the meaning of family tradition. Throughout the story, he uses carpentry to represent the love that has been passed on from each generation in his family, from his grandfather to his father, then to him. He begins the story with the day he found out his father had passed away. After he injured his thumb working on his daughter’s wall, his wife calls to tell him the bad news.
The pain from his thumb makes him have a flashback of all the memories he had growing up and learning how to use the tools that he had learned from his father. He starts to talk about life lessons, and how he learned that sound traveled slower than sight, and how to hit a nail with a hammer. He explains that his father taught him how to use a hammer by saying, “Don’t look at your hands, don’t look at the hammer. Just look at the head of the nail and pretty soon you’ll learn how to hit the square. He passed this education he learned from his father, to his own two children.
When his daughter comes crying to him about her gerbils climbing into the newly built wall, he showed her that if she placed food by the vent, they would sooner or later come out. From the experiences with his father, and the stories he had heard from his grandfather, he explains how he gained his personality and his character. I think this piece was meant to teach us a lesion in keeping family traditions alive and passing our knowledge that we obtained down from generation to generation.