Father Figure Role in the Picture of Dorian Gray

Topics: Family, Love, Parent Pages: 3 (510 words) Published: February 27, 2011
In the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, James Vane is extremely protective of his sister

and wants to provide for his family, therefore, making him exhibit the “father-figure” role the

best. James is Sibyl’s sixteen year old brother who is becoming a sailor and is getting ready to

leave for Australia. As the brother of Sibyl, James acts more as “father-figure” or guardian to his

sister rather than her sibling. Sibyl is falling in love with a handsome, young man named Dorian

Gray. James hears a “gentleman comes every night to the theatre, and goes behind [stage] to talk

to [Sibyl]” (Wilde 46). He is curious to know every detail on the relationship with his sister and

Dorian and whether or not the attachment is serious. All he asks of his mother is to “watch over

Sibyl” (47) once he leaves for Australia. Once he is not around, there will not be a man in Sibyl’s

life to protect her or “watch over” (47) her like James does. James knows his mother is only

happy for Sibyl because Dorian promises his status and wealth. Their mother wants her daughter

to marry into money for the family’s sake despite who Dorian really is as a person and the

protection of her only daughter. On the other hand, James believes Dorian will only “harm” (46)

her. He is only trying to protect his sister from the dangers of love. Since him and his sister do

not have a father or “father-figure” in their life, James has to watch out for his sister like a father

would. Fathers always protect their daughters from boys who break their hearts, and that is what

James is doing. He questions Sibyl about why she does not “reveal [her] new friend” (49) to her

brother. He claims to have the “right to know” (49) about her new love. Sibyl describes her new

love to her brother as her “Prince Charming” (50). James threatens her that if her “Prince

Charming” (50) ever does “any wrong, [he] shall kill him” (50). This vow foreshadows the...
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