When comparing John Stuart Mill's Autobiography and Edmund Gosse's Father and Son, one cannot ignore the fact that the two are very similar with respect to the strong father-son relationship that both James Mill and Phillip Gosse had with their sons. Mill's and Gosse's primary influence in their early childhood and education was from their father as both James Mill and Phillip Gosse spent a large amount of time in solitude with their son. The reason for the intense seclusion is that each father had certain expectations and ambitions for his son and wanted no outside influences to interrupt or interfere with his design. James Mill went to great lengths to bestow the highest order of intellectual education (27) in order for his young son to grow as an intellectual thinker, a rational logician and an apostle for Benthamite Utilitarianism: a philosophy of social reform partially conceived by James Mill. Phillip Gosse also had a plan for his impressionable son, Edmund.
[...] There was also a sexual scandal involving Gosse and John Addington Symonds: “Gosse, who had exchanged many painful letters with Symonds, burnt Symond's most revealing papers, and put his memoirs under a fifty- year ban-not even allowed to be broken by Symond's daughter, Janet Vaughan, who walked out of Gosse's house in disgust at his censorship” (Lee: 113). All these scandals of censorship and forgeries stand in contrast to the way Gosse presents Father and Son as many people saw it as “going too as it tore “down censorship, hypocrisy and convention” (Lee : 108) concerning the relationship that Gosse had with his father. It is clear from this evidence that Edmund Gosse broke away from his father's (and his mother's) design for him to have a life dedicated to the service of God. [...]
[...] This request is also very important considering what Gosse says about his parent's relationship with each other: “until the hour of her death, she exercised, without suspecting it, a magnetic power over the will and nature of my Father” (42). This is sufficient evidence to suggest that Phillip Gosse would not want to fail in fulfilling the final wishes of his dying wife and would try to keep Gosse on his righteous course and keep in accordance with the design that Gosse's parents have for him. [...]
[...] Now that it has been established that there exists a strong father-son relationship in Gosse's Father and Son and Mill's Autobiography, I will continue by illustrating how the son, through his reading of poetry and literature, develops away from the father and begins to form ideas and opinions which are independent from their father's and their father's ideology. I will also illustrate how poetry and literature help to shape their new and independent ideas and opinions. John Stuart Mill's partial separation from his father and Utilitarianism occurs during his first mental crisis when he is twenty years old. [...]
[...] Needless to say, reading poetry and literature has a very strong impact in the father-son relationship in Gosse's Father and Son and Mill's Autobiography as poetry and literature causes the son to break away from the father's mode of thinking and allows them to begin to shape their own way of thinking and assert their own identity which is independent of their father and their father's wishes. Works Cited Gosse, Edmund, Father and Son London and New York: Penguin Books Green, Michelle, “Sympathy and the Social Value of Poetry: J.S. [...]
[...] It is the intention of this essay to explore the strong father-son relationship in Mill's Autobiography and Gosse's Father and Son as well as to analyze the impact that poetry and literature have on this relationship by illustrating how it affects the father's design for the son. To say that James Mill was a big part of his son's life is a massive understatement. Starting at a very early age, James Mill exerted an immense amount of influence over Mill's life and it was no secret that he desired to “shape his eldest son's mind and character” (Robson in Mill: by administering, “during the years of childhood, an amount of knowledge in what are considered the higher branches of education” which would instill, in his son, the qualities necessary for Mill to become a prominent expounder of Benthamite Utilitarianism. [...]
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