Father Son Relationships

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The role of a father is a crucial and influential position in a child’s life. However, this role or relationship can become complicated when one makes a poor father or takes on the father figure to an individual lacking someone to take on that role. These situations take place in Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. In Persuasion, Sir Walter Elliot is the biological but emotionally negligent father of Anne, the novel’s protagonist. He has two other daughters that he is no great role model to, but his father/daughter relationship with Anne is on the cusp of cruelty. The opening of the novel describes him thus: "Vanity was the beginning and the end of Sir Walter Elliot’s character; vanity of person and of situation" (4).…show more content…
The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, was yet unmarried at the age of 29, but Sir Walter was unbothered because she had not yet lost her bloom of youth and beauty. They were very much alike in their values and conduct and therefore got along very easily. Conversely, he considered his "two other children were of very inferior value…Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no weight, her convenience was always to give way— she was only Anne" (5). Anne is 27, unmarried due to her father’s social disdain for her former suitor, and has lived all those years hearing and being treated as though she has no value to anyone but Lady Russell. In fact, when Lady Russell is asked to help find a way to fix the Elliot family’s financial woes, she decides to consult Anne, "who never seemed considered by the others as having any interest in the question" (14). However, all of their suggestions are harshly dismissed, and the decision is made instead to relocate to Bath even though Anne dislikes the climate and social…show more content…
When describing himself as a young man, left to learn and grow from his own teachings, he states that he "was rough as the elements, and unlearned as the animals I tended. I often compared myself to them…Thus untaught in refined philosophy…I wandered among the hills of civilized England as uncouth a savage as the wolf-bred founder of old Rome…my greatest deed of virtue was never to submit" (14). Without that father figure to teach, discipline, and guide, Lionel had to figure everything out for himself until Adrian, the son of his father’s once friend, comes to Lionel’s village, determined to correct past wrongs. Adrian felt the responsibility to educate and restore Lionel to his hereditary station fell to him as they "were born to be friends to each other…[and there is a] hereditary bond of friendship which I trust will hereafter unite us" (26). However, he must take on the role of parent, for a time at least; Lionel is uneducated and before this has only known physical strength as a mode of guiding his life. Adrian cannot simply take him to London and install him into a position of rank because he would not have the knowledge and skills to conduct himself professionally or socially. Adrian was determined to make up for Lionel’s lacking the knowledge of culture by teaching him "that cultivation which graced his own
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