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 Gosse to profess to have written this book as if it were a biography of his father, or even as a historical chronicle, was beneficial. First off, by writing something which is to document a period of time Edmund would be writing in the methodical and scientific style of his father, which then would mirror the lifestyle in which he is forced to live. Secondly, Edmund wants the reader to see his father as he did, with honor, awe, resentment and even shame. Edmund does this quietly, he does not shout his shame, he merely reiterates it as a anecdote of a story “...his very absence of imagination aided him in his work. (113)” .
Finally, Edmund, being able to portray this book as a portrait of someone other than himself, is a chance to humble himself, no matter what he says about the father, to the reader. All of these methods that Edmund uses to sway our thinking actually serve only to benefit Edmund Gosse himself. This actually makes it more of an autobiographical account than ...
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They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seen not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forts.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
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