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This undeveloped relationship between father and son filled Auster with an overwhelming and desperate need to search for father. This urge to examine him, his feelings about their relationship, and investigate both their pasts ultimately became the purpose of this piece. "If, while he was alive, I kept on looking for him, kept trying to find the father who was not there, now that he is dead I still feel as though I must go on looking for him," (Auster 52). Paul was disturbed at the fact that his father had left no traces, so what he sought to do with this piece was to memorialize his father so that he would be remembered. The manner in which Auster goes about this is through examining his memory of his father and his feelings toward both of their lives.
Auster goes into detail of the type of man whom he alleged his father to be, from his behavior, odd mannerisms, and treatment toward other people. He paints a picture of his father through memories he had of his past. Thus, memory seems to be the controlling theme of this piece. An example of this is when Paul tells the story of how his dad came to visit his newborn grandson. "He poked his head into the carriage for a tenth of a second, straightened up and said to my wife, "A beautiful baby. Good luck with it," and then proceeded to walk into the house...For the rest of the visit that day, he did not look at Daniel, and not once, ever, did he ask to hold him," (Auster 61). Through
Quotes talked about in this paper
- He writes, "What disturbed me was something else, something unrelated to death or my response to it: the realization that my father had left no traces," ...
- Auster writes, "An obligation that began to impose itself on me the moment I was given the news. I thought: my father is gone. If I do no act quickly, his entire life will vanish along with him," ...
- He writes, "When I got back to the office a few minutes later, my father was greatly amused. To my father's credit, he did not get mad at me or make fun of me. He laughed, but in a way that made me laugh also. Then, he dropped what he was doing and took me to Woolworth's across the street, and bought me some new clothes," ...
- Auster makes an attempt at this by writing of his worst regret of all, which was, "I was not given a chance to see him after he died. Ignorantly, I had assumed the coffin would be open during the funeral service, and then, when it wasn't, it was too late to do anything about it," ...
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