Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

From Bonfire of the Vanities

From <i>Bonfire of the Vanities</i>

Photograph via Flickr by shutterhacks

Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities

“And in that moment Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later. For the first time he realized that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps, love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life. And now that boy, that good actor, had grown old and fragile and tired, wearier than ever at the thought of trying to hoist the Protector’s armor back onto his shoulders, again, now, so far down the line.”

That many men will one day experience the role of both the son and the father seems like one of the more real things about life.