Being a Child in the Fox Family

Being a Child in the Fox Family

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Being a Child in the Fox Family

The Mosquito Coast is about a family whose father is an eccentric
inventor, fed up with the trials of modern civilisation, so they leave
America for a new life on the Mosquito Coast. This is where Allie Fox
took the perfect world from his family. This is because he hates
everything to do about modern society.

At the beginning of the story, we see that the children are isolated
from normal society because of their father. Allie Fox hates T.V,
school and thing that normal children do; because of this his children
have to suffer. Secretly the children want to do what normal children
do, but are too afraid of their father, "Secretly, I wanted to go to
school."

Because of this situation Charlie feels glad that they are going away
where no one will realise that their lives aren't normal. The children
have no choice but to do what their father says. Also they trust him
and are increasingly dependant on him, especially once they leave
America. Charlie realises that without their father, they are lost,
"If he dies, I thought, we are lost."

I think that Allie is not a good role model for his children as he
always puts himself first. He always has to prove a point, even if
this means putting his family at risk. When Charlie climbs the
kingpost, which he doesn't want to do, he is caught by the captin. The
captin blames father, but father doesn't care. He was prepared to put
his children in danger to show he was right. Allie is really a bully
towards his children and the children suffer for his mistakes. He
blames Charlie when the captin of the 'Unicorn' shouted at him, "If
you had climbed a little faster he wouldn't have seen you." He makes
no apology for the danger he put, Charlie through.

Even though Allie takes the children away from America, the children
find a place which they call The Acre. When Allie is away, here they
can do what their father hates like playing with pretend money in a

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'shop' and singing hymns. Here they feel happy and feel they can make
up for everything they missed out on in Massachusetts. They were happy
in The Acre because their father did not know about it, "This made up
for everything we never had in Massachusetts."

The children feel happier with their mother because mother treats them
like children, while father treats them like adults and make them work
like slaves, Charlie works like a grown man. When Allie is bringing
ice to some Indians, we see that Allie takes out his anger on the
children. Here he takes his anger out on Jerry and this is the point
where Jerry starts to loose trust in him. The two girls, especially
clover, no matter what Allie does, they still love and trust him. When
Allie lies about the Indians being amazed, Charlie feels lonely and
sad, and feels sickened and separated. Charlie is relieved when Allie
tells the truth to mother, "So he did not lie after all."

When Jeronimo is destroyed and everyone is hiding in the Acre, Charlie
is again reminded how important their father is to them and feels
scared when he sees his father sleeping, because he had never seen him
sleep for so long. This reminded him that "If he was dead, we were
lost."

When father says he is a changed man after the Jeronimo disaster,
Charlie doesn't think so because Allie acted just as he always did.
Allie upsets his children when he tells all the lies about the
destruction of the United States. At first the children aren't sure
but tend to believe all Allies lies. Because Allie does not eat and
does not rest, he starts to become paranoid and obsessive. As result
of this the family suffer and cannot do anything about, because Allie
is in charge. Also they now have nothing, no money, no home and so are
totally dependant on Allies ingenuity to keep them alive.

We gradually see Jerry developing hatred for his father and we see
Allie analysed by Charlie. We see that Allie is selfish, "he invented
for his own sake!" When father and mother have an argument the
children have to suffer as well, "all we kids did was whisper."
Charlie sees that his father does lie when he lies about not having
tools, which builds more distrust.

At this point Jerry has a breakdown because he is exhausted, sad and
angry, but Jerry also represents the rational voice, the one who isn't
sucked into Allies delusions and has the courage to admit it, "Dads
crazy." Because of Jerry's outburst of him saying that he hates his
dad, Allie bullies him. Allies has now become a tyrant and now is
unstable. He has also become obsessive about birds. When Jerry is sent
diving down to find the propeller, Allie doesn't care that it is too
dangerous for him, but when mother suggest that she should go down,
father refuses which shoes that he needs her. Allies obsession has
become more worse so does Jerry's breakdown.

When the kids think that their father has drowned, Jerry feels happy
and free and feels that he can go home. However all is lost when Allie
comes back. Charlie and Jerry get punished for thinking that their
father was dead and that they would return to the coast. Charlie also
imagines what it would be like to kill his father.

The children feel embarrassed when they meet Emily, the missionary's
daughter, because of their condition. Their pants were made of
salvaged sail cloth. When the children find out about the truth from
Emily about the states, it makes Jerry very angry, "he was lying the
whole time." When the family find out what Dad has done to 'Guampa'
Jerry feels that he will 'never get home' and wants to kill him. When
Allie died, Charlie still feared his father and hardly believed in
himself at all.

Conclusion

Allie thinks he is 'saving' his family from the corruption of the
American way of life, yet he continually makes them face hardships,
starvation and intellectual boredom. They don't get any mental
stimulus apart from listening to him and from mother's accessional
lessons. What they do learn, they learn themselves from the native
zambus, not Allie and it is this knowledge that saves them in the end,
not what Allie has done. Lastly it shows that no ones opinion,
including mothers is ever considered by Allie and that Allie cannot
see any point of view but his own.
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