Lust and Love: A Father's Role Essay

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The short stories “Alchemy” and “House”, from Madeleine Thien’s “Simple Recipes”, portray fathers that are drastically different from each other. In each of these stories a father is present, but the way each is shown interacting with their families differs extraordinarily. This interaction with their family leads to very different outcomes for the families and how the children view their father in their lives. Although both fathers are shown to be hard working and described by the narrators as caring they are very different from each other in their motives, lives at home, and the way they are perceived by their children. One is seen as a loving father who is missed by his daughters and the other is scrutinized and hated by his. The first…show more content…
Paula’s father had a large role in “Alchemy” although he was not present throughout the story whereas in “House” the father was spoken about from the start to the end of the story. Paula’s father had no development in the story either and does not change to the reader till we learn of his secret, but Kathleen and Lorraine’s father grows as a character from the beginning to the end of the story since he starts off as a father who is somewhat lazy as he never goes through with his promise of getting “a job in the city next year” (Thien 107). He matures, after his wife leaves the family, and he realizes that he cannot give his girls the life he wishes he could and makes the painful decision to “meet with their social worker” and explaining that “that he’d had his chance and lost it” (Thien 116) in regards to raising a family. The difference in the characters being focused on displays the importance seen by the narrators on these fathers. It also signifies the impact and care the daughters have for their fathers as Paula’s is not seen too often showing how unimportant he is to her while Kathleen and Lorraine focus heavily on theirs. Even though these differences are present there are some similarities between the two characters. Both are shown to be very hard working in their fields of work and are thought to be caring
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