Essay Father and Son

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Father and Son Just whom is Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son written for? Is it for the Father, or for the Son, or, as Edmund Gosse tells us, for the public, so they can have a record of life in a rigidly religious family? Edmund begins his book by telling you that it is a historical record, an important chronicle that is to be used, basically as a reference for a period of time. Yet, in the first sentence of the first chapter, we can see that this is truly not his purpose. The first words on the page does not reference a historical event; they are, instead, cathartic. Edmund tries very hard to convince his reader that “this is not an autobiography” (217). Try as he might, he did not persuade me.

I will grant that for Edmund
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This is not the only narcissistic angle of the book. Even when reiterating episodes in the life of the Gosse’s he does it in reference to himself. If this were to chronicle “two temperaments, two consciences....two epochs ” there would be more than one perspective. Do we once hear of Philip Gosse’s reactions or feelings about his wife dying? We do not, we merely get the reactions of what he does from his son. Do we know what he thought those nights alone without his wife? No, we do not. Edmund did not take the time to find out. He even apologizes when he said, “Had I been older and more intelligent, of course, it might have been him, and not of myself that I should have been thinking.” Yet, still thinking of himself, he states, “This is not to be dwelt on here.” Of course it isn’t Edmund, it is an autobiography, it is about you.

Edmund, we know would argue that. He tries to take the spotlight off of himself. Being the type of person that he is, the always goes back to talking about himself. In the last numerical chapter of the book, Edmund tells of an apocalyptic event, a noteworthy action worthy of ending a book on...his transcendence into heaven. His epiphany is quickly grounded by reality. Nothing happens. His ego is shattered. HIS ego, Edmund’s ego. This catalytic event puts an emotional and spiritual division between father and son that puts “the thick o’ the world” between them. Although in the Epilogue Edmund is apologetic

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