Little Women and Treasure Island: Fatherhood

2395 Words Feb 4th, 2013 10 Pages
Compare and contrast the depiction of fatherhoods in Little Women and Treasure Island.

When discussing fatherhood in relation to both novels, we see that in both, the father is either primarily absent or irrelevant to the plot. The element of fatherhood comes from the characters designed to replace or substitute the absent or lost fathers. Treasure Island finds two figures available for Jim to form a paternal relationship, and the moral juxtaposition they present has as much to do with Jim growing into a moral man, as it does him choosing a path to survival. In Little Women fatherhood is represented by many different views of masculinity including Jo’s attempt to fill her absent father’s shoes. The differences and similarities between
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Alcott’s decision to produce the sequel to Little Women greatly establishes the role fatherhood plays in her story, whilst Mr March is away, Jo is fulfilling her own prophecy of being “the man of the family”(Alcott, 1998 p.9) and upon his return is free to live her life as a ‘little woman’, the significance of Beth’s death means Jo’s desire to be a man is also over, and she strives to imitate her departed sister by neglecting the proactive and masculine personality she assumed in order to cope with being head of a household.

In contrast to Alcott’s desire to be successful financially, Stevenson’s own efforts concerning Treasure Island were of a more innovative intent, to create a novel which not only featured a romantic story but served merely to entertain and inspire without an element of educating. Stevenson aspires to a more unconventional style of appealing to young boys, without moral preaching or the inclusion of religious implication; which Alcott endeavours to do with her inclusion of Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress and her references to God, the most fatherly figure of all. “If you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him” (Alcott, 1998 p.80)

The fatherly characters are produced by two authors who had interesting relationships with their own fathers and who subsequently introduce their own opinions to the
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