Thursday, September 28, 2006

I agree with Alex's point about Danticat's views on father figures and I was struck in much the same way--how clearly that message was perceived despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that the book is so focused on women's stories.

Developing the idea of the father, particularly in the way that the father relates to the city, I think is especially acceptable through the Roman Catholic Church. In a way unlike our traditional political structure (which assigns branches of government to even the most sparsely populated of places), the Church sees it fit to install a bishop, who is much more like a father than is a mayor because he is a lone decision-maker for his diocese, whose responsibility it is to look over the city. I think this humanizing idea, viewing a city as a family with a father, is a clearer way to enter into the idea of justice and the city, about which Kolvenbach writes specifically (although he dealt with universities instead of diocese), and Danticat and Achebe write about peripherally.

Further, I think that the social problem that so many pundits point to when attributing the ills of urban life--that being the loss of the father in urban America--remninds us of the grave responsibility that not only men, but all members of society owe to the children of the city, both figuratively and literally.