Remember your high school days? The pep rallies, the big football game, and how the football players were treated like royalty? In Children of the River, Linda Crew describes the world of Willamette Grove, where Jonathan McKinnon is your typical white, suburban, All-American boy. He is the big football star who everyone likes. Jonathan is described as your All-American boy, and for good reasons. He appears the part, he is very popular, and comes from the typical rich suburban background.
As the story progresses that becomes more apparent. First of all, Jonathan Mckinnon appears the part of the All-American boy. He dresses in jeans and t-shirts just like most of the people at Willamette Grove High School. As Sundara, his love interest put it, put it " Would the son of a well to-do-doctor dress in faded jeans, sweatshirts with ragged cut sleeves? In America, yes," (41).
Jonathan also wears a football jacket, as do the rest of the team. Now this goes back to him being a football player. Jonathan also appears the part by acting how de does. He walks down the hall with his cheerleader girlfriend, Cathy Gates, he hangs out with the football team, and he drives around in his convertible sports car. The fact that Jonathan dresses the part of the All-American boy, acts the part of the All-American boy, and just appears the part of the All-American boy makes Jonathan another in a long line of All-American boys.
This however is only one of the reasons that Jonathan is the All-American boy. The next reason Jonathan is an All-American boy, is the fact that he is popular. First of all he is the big football star at Willamette Grove High, which takes credit for most of his popularity. Secondly, Jonathan is dating the popular cheerleader. It is like something out of a movie. Cathy Gates is the cute little cheerleader and she and Jonathan are a perfect couple.
According to Kelly, Sundara's friend, " 'She and Jonathan McKinnon have been going together forever', " (46). Also, people admire him. He is congratulated in the school halls after they win a football game, and even Ravy, Sundara's cousin, is impressed when Jonathan shows up at their house to see Sundara. "Ravy stared up at Jonathan. 'You really Jonathan McKinnon, the football player?' ," (111) As you can see, all these reasons show that Jonathan is indeed popular which is a vital part of the All-American boy. This is the second reason Jonathan McKinnon is the All-American boy; there is one more reason.
Lastly, Jonathan's background is that of the All-American boy. First, he lives in a big suburban house. This is proved when Sundara goes to his house for a sailing trip she is "marveled as she parked the station wagon in front of Jonathan's huge white house. So big for only three people!" (92), obviously an expensive house.
This also illustrates that his family is wealthy. However, this is not a shock once considering that Jonathan's father is a doctor. This is uncovered when Sundara and Jonathan are talking, " 'Is your father a doctor?' 'Yeah, a pediatrician.' ," (41). Sundara recognized the name McKinnon because when her family first came to America, Dr. McKinnon helped her cousin Pon when he was sick. Also, Jonathan's mother is the model suburban mother who is in the League of Women Voters and involved in school committees.
This shows typical suburban parents where the father has a job in which he makes a lot of money (lawyer, doctor, accountant etc. ) and the mother does not have to work. To emphasize the point even more, Jonathan and his family own a boat and regularly sail, and also ski, two activities that take money in which to participate in. The fact that Jonathan's family is wealthy, that his parents are typical suburban parents, a father who is a doctor, and a non-working mother. His family also takes part in activities that take money. This all proves that Jonathan's family is the typical suburban family.
It is true that Jonathan is trying to shake that All-American boy image. He is befriending and actually is romantically interested in the girl who is different, the outsider, Sundara. Jonathan actually quits the football team, which sends his popularity in a downward spiral. It also seems that he cares a little less about what people think of him at the end of the novel than at the beginning. As his appearance is not quite what it started out as. However he can not be drifting very far from the All-American boy image if he still participates in or still has all of the stereotypical components of the All-American boy, which he indeed does.
Though he cannot control all the elements that make him the All-American boy, he certainly does not try to prevent them. In conclusion, throughout the novel it is proven time and time again that Jonathan McKinnon is indeed your typical white, suburban, All-American boy. This is proven by the fact that he appears the part, is popular, and comes from the typical suburban family. Indeed Jonathan McKinnon is that All-American boy portrayed in movies, and I have a feeling he is going to stay that way.