The Theme of Guilt and Abandonment on Adam Haslett’s “Notes to My Biographer”

Topics: Mental illness, Narrative mode, Father Pages: 2 (936 words) Published: October 25, 2014

Nick Thant
The Theme of Guilt and Abandonment on Adam Haslett’s “Notes to My Biographer” From the beginning of the story Haslett displayed immense scorn of Franklin’s views on a variety of things, such as his mental illness treatment, his nephew’s family, and so on. I find the main theme of the story as Graham’s pain of paternal abandonment as well as Franklin’s guilt intertwined and hidden within these misleading sarcastic thoughts. Haslett’s “Notes to My Biographer” point out a lot of cases in our society where the child would carry a great amount of emotional pain along his childhood because of paternal abandonment. Haslett also makes an example of Graham being doubtful in his relationship to prove it is often seen that a child who grew up holding grudge of being neglected would easily become insecure about his love life in his adulthood. Amidst Haslett’s narration of Franklin, I noticed these words of Franklin symbolic, saying his son is not the same anymore since he is now damaged by his actions as “On the floor of his room he’d trace with delicate hands, what he remembered of my design: I see those same hands now spread on his thighs, nails bitten down, cuticles torn” (Haslett 9). These words were not only composed of Graham’s opinions of his son. It also includes the writer’s implication of Franklin’s torment upon losing his inspirational mentor. I can relate these feelings myself for I am a person who idolizes his father. Franklin as a child also looked up to Graham as an inspirational figure, but he was let down. I would have fallen apart like Franklin if I were in his situation. The writer also wrote the responsibility of Franklin as a stigma he felt in his reunion with his own son. At the first sight of Graham at his father, he would take a step back when Franklin was welcoming him with open arms at the same time. It is within the possibilities not only to speculate that his son, Graham was bewildered to see his father...
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