The Theme Of Fatherhood In Looking For Alibrandi

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In each of us there is an emotional hole, which can only be filled by the presence of a father. The importance of having a father is both recognized and emphasised, in the novel Looking for Alibrandi. This novel explores the ideas of fatherhood, the influence fathers have on their children, and the impact of having a father who is an alcoholic or a high class politician. It also deals with the harsh realities of what the absence of a father can mean.

A father is not just someone who starts or creates a human being through his sperm, a father is a parent whose responsibility is to bring up his children. Since the very beginning of time, God incorporated a father into his design for families The bible strongly advocates fathers as a part of the family to be the leader and head of the household. People may argue that a mother or another adult can quite successfully fulfill the role of a father but deep inside our souls we all yearn for a father, this is to be expected, as our fathers are a part of our personality and genetic make-up.

We can try to hide or disguise this need for a father we each have, but we cannot truthfully deny it.

In the novel Looking for Alibrandi Josies's illegitimacy has huge implications in her search for herself and her social standing. These implications become even more drastic when she starts school at St Martha's because she begins to understand on page 8 'what the absence of a father meant.' Fathers are very important in the lives of the girls who attend St. Martha's school. They have power and influence and determine the wealth class and prestige of the girls. We see on page 21 that 'what your father did for a living counted'. And not having a father makes Josie feel that she will 'never be a part of their society'.

Unlike Josie, Lee does have a father. However, he is an alcoholic and just as not having a father has affects so does having a father who is an alchoholic. We learn on page 20, the reason Lee is part of Josies's group of friends and not 'the popular group is because once when she was in primary school her father came to pick her up from a birthday party blind drunk It is through this that we come to a firmer realisation of the importance of a fathers reputation.

What a father expects of his son or daughter is also very important we are able to come to a greater understanding of this through the tragic suicide of John Barton. Whilst John appears to have it all being the school captain of St Anthony's and according to Josie on page 41 'the greatest debater who ever lived. Good looking ' and popular, deep down he has bigger problems than most people can superficially see. His father is determined that John will follow in his footsteps and become a great politician and eventually a Prime Minister. However, John hates these expectations and doesn't want to climb to the top as he puts it. But as he tell Josie on page 41 "when you have a father who is a minister in parliament, you are expected to have ambition. And when you can't work out your ambition, good old Dad does". When John is eventually driven to suicide we see the enormous impact that a fathers expectations, can have on a son.

Despite all the negative issues surrounding fatherhood that Josie sees her friends experience, she still recognizes her own personal need and desire for a father. Someone who can complete her identity and fulfill her emotionally. When Michael Andretti walks into her life he eventually does just this. However, Josie does not immediately love and accept him, in fact she is quite hostile towards him and demonstrates this through her lack of respect for him. Michael is by no means the idealistic father but he does love Josie hand he shows this through supporting, helping and protecting her. We see a few examples of his protectiveness of her. First we she is walking along the road alone at night and he picks her up and also when he offers her a job at his law firm as a safer and better alternative to working at McDonalds. Through Michael love Josies's bitterness towards him dissolves and her thoughts on age 156 clearly allow us to see the deep love for her father that she develops. "Six months ago I hadn't met my father and I didn't want to…somehow we've developed a great relationship. We're still stilted and a bit embarrassed around each other but there is a great respect there and I never really thought I would respect my father".

Through her novel Looking for Alibrandi Melina Marchetta clearly endorses the need we all have for a father. Through her exploration of several different fathers she adamantly shows that no father is perfect but that all fathers are important and play a huge part in the life of their child. Josephine sums this up well on page 90 "I knew how it felt walking alongside one's father. It was a great feeling. So for all of you who are sitting here and will one day become fathers please make a conscious decision to always be there for your future children as a Godly influence for them and realise that a father has a huge responsibility. Don't let your children end up sitting in a prison or dead.