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Restriction In Edmund Gosse's 'Father And Son'

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Restriction develops a curious mind as exemplified by Edmund Gosse. Autobiographical novel Father and Son indicates that reading is Gosse’s release from religion. Further exploring the development for his antipathy towards his Fathers stern Calvinism. Although, it is understood that Gosse “did not dream of ignoring” the existence and power of God (Gosse, 43-44). Conversely, to understand the importance of non-restriction: individuality, oppression, and childhood will draw upon the relationship between reading and religion in the novel. Important factors of Father and Son as an autobiography are addressed because they exemplify a relationship between reading and religion. As Porter states, Gosse employs objectivity, irony, and detachment as…show more content…
Therefore, “book” becomes an underlying insinuation for Gosse’s later individual development; from his parents austere Calvinism to a religious independent who read freely. Gosse did not let his religion become a restriction for what he could read like his parents. From this point, Gosse became introduced to literature other than the Bible. For Gosse, Charles Dickens The Pickwick Papers act as an apprenticeship to fiction (Rees, 238). Gosse says he was “instantly and gloriously enslaved” by Pickwick, for his excitement in reading literature that was not the Bible was “scandalous” (Gosse, 179). Ironically, finding individuality from the “Calvinist cloister” (Gosse, 28) of his upbringing, is only possible through experiencing restriction. Although, Gosse does not acknowledge his upbringing as particularly positive, understands his antipathy was not towards religion but for his paternal restrictions. Gosse uses Wordsworth to address his developing individuality towards his “Father's dogmatic theology” (Gosse, 78). Further, Wordsworth addresses the impact nature has on the infant mind. In contrast, Gosse’s fascination with the sea compares to Wordsworth’s affinity for the mountains in The Prelude. Further, the sea becomes a rival for his Father’s Calvinism by insinuating Gosse is more affected by the natural world and reading than religion. Additionally, Gosse was advised to “skip” pages which
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