Understanding David’s Father

After reading the first two chapters of “Giovanni’s Room” I knew immediately that I wanted to write about David’s relationship with his father and how that relationship mirrors tropes found within many other narratives.

From a very young age David’s father (who is not name for what I am assuming is a significant reason that I cannot see at the moment) is the only parent David can look up to; Ellen, you could say, would be another, but from the time she is given in the novel, she seems to be more of an agitating force and her only effects on David are temporary. Like in most narratives, David looks up to his father as a role model until one event sparked a defiance in him. For David it is the one night where his father returned drunk and began arguing with Ellen (“From that time on, with mysterious, cunning, and dreadful intensity of the very young, I despised my father and I hated Ellen.”). This same sort of event happened in Rita Mae Brown’s “Rubyfruit Jungle” in which Carrie told Molly of her bastard-ness (not a word, but just go with me).

I also find it interesting how this narrative comes to a quasi-conclusion when David crashes his car while driving under the influence of alcohol and wakes up to his father mourning for him. It’s amazing how much influence our parents actions have on us, even though neither party may realize that there was an influence. From the narration, it is unclear if either party realizes in the moment that the accident was a result of David’s father’s drinking habit, but due to the juxtaposition of the two stories, it is obvious David connects the two events later.


Some questions to spark conversation:

  1. How much influence do you think your parents’ actions have on your development/choices in life? And
  2. If you were to ever have kids, what steps would you take to ensure your child grows up in a healthy environment?


Excited to hear the discussion that brews in class over these chapters.



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