Is Hiram McDowell a bad father?

Use this forum to discuss the October Book of the Month "McDowell" by William H. Coles.
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serendipity 27
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Re: Is Hiram McDowell a bad father?

Post by serendipity 27 » 08 Oct 2018, 12:04

I don't know if he is necessarily a bad father but I feel like he is just very inept at understanding his children's feelings. He can't really relate to most people so it's hard for him to even relate to his children I think.

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Post by fernsmom » 09 Oct 2018, 00:20

I think in McDowell, Hiram was quite obviously a bad father in the first part of the book. He not only was never present, but he also never really seemed to care about them either. Whether it was his 3rd wife, his children, or his step children, they always placed way down on his priority list. But, on the second part of the book, things changed somewhat. You could see the relationship he had with his children changed along with his station in life. He seemed to reach out more, and I think his children felt that way as well.
He never really rectified his aloofness with his wife, but I think he did get closer at least to his children.

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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 11 Oct 2018, 09:46

I don't think he is a bad father. Hiram is merely didn't spend much time with his children given the fact that his life as a surgeon is a busy life. If he is a bad father, he would not even bother to fund his children's education and making sure his children get the best tutors i.e. Hiram use all his musician connection to find the best music teacher for his son, Billie and he bought good quality drum sets for him. Same goes with Sophie; Hiram made impromptu visit to Sophie who was in melancholy after her girlfriend, June left her.
Last edited by ParadoxicalWoman on 11 Oct 2018, 09:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by MissAndi » 11 Oct 2018, 12:25

I think we have to differentiate between bad father and bad person, because you can be one without the other. Hiram shows typical signs of narcissism and emotional detachment, which isn't healthy in a parenting figure. I think he was doing as best as he could for his kids, because his emotional development in fields beyond his family was lacking as well.

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Post by chelhack » 11 Oct 2018, 16:31

I do not think that Hiram was a bad father I believe that this is actually one of the things that this book shows to be good about him.
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Post by Dusamae » 11 Oct 2018, 17:46

I think his unemotional attitude towards them messed up their lives. All of his children are messed up in some way or another but by the end of the book, they find their way.

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Post by Charlyt » 13 Oct 2018, 07:30

I think that Hiram was a bad husband, but not a bad father. His morals as a person, though, was questionable. It seems that he doesn't think much about what the consequence of his actions are to other people, so I feel like he thinks he's doing the best that he can for his children. He even supported Billie with his drumming even when he failed many times in school. He also provided allowance to Sophie, and seemed to tolerate her lesbian relationship. As for Tasha and Candice, I don't think he sees them as his children, but only as Carole's.

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Post by Cotwani » 13 Oct 2018, 15:52

Not much is said about his relationship with his children when they were younger, begging the question was he there for them or was he an absentee father? Though his son blames him for their mother's woes, he doesn't seem to have anything against him as a father, in his younger years. Sophie seems to have initially kept her distance because of her dad's remarriage, not due to some daddy issues. McDowell probably failed in making his children more responsible, very common with many parents. I, however, feel his relationship with his stepchildren was flawed.
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Post by lesler » 14 Oct 2018, 10:10

I think he cares about his kids, but doesn't know how to keep involved with them. He's used to screwing up with those close to him in life, and he hasn't learned how to be close to someone since his wife died. It's difficult for him.

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Post by centfie » 15 Oct 2018, 03:05

In my opinion Hiram McDowell loves his family, but has his own unique ways of showing. He tries to play his role as a father considering that he is always travelling for work related issues. He supports Billie on his artistic attempts and advises him. He supports Sophie financially, emotionally when June dumps her, and even when her dreams are against his view. Also, he supports Ann financially although she is married to Robert who is never there for his children, and McDowell kills Jeremy because he thinks Ann would do better without him after all the problems that Jeremy caused. So, he is there for his children in his own way.
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Post by Bavithra M » 16 Oct 2018, 07:13

Hiram McDowell was a bad father in the begining but then later he changed. So i don't belive that Hiram McDowell is a bad father.
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Post by kdstrack » 18 Oct 2018, 21:09

Part of being a parent is knowing when to let your "child" grow up. It seems like Hiram was allowing his adult children to make their own choices and not interfere. This would seem to be hypocritical since he expects his children to live with the consequences of their decisions and actions, but he does everything possible to avoid the consequences he deserves for what he has done.

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Post by cpru68 » 20 Oct 2018, 16:56

I felt like everything Hiram did was about how to advance himself. I think is ego drove his choices at the expense of others including his children. Because he was walking around with such a gaping hole in his heart and was constantly trying to fulfill his own needs, this made no room for him to be a good parent. Some would say that he provided well for his family. Financially, he did. Emotionally, no. His work was his pinnacle and he loved the adoration of the press and society. He had a long list of titles behind his name professionally, but his parenting and marital life were a flop with no good qualities. Every time he was unfaithful to his wife, he was unfaithful to his children. I think a lot of people don't see it that way, but I think his infidelity ripped the fabric of his home life to shreds. I think he wanted to be a good dad, but he had a driving force for self-preservation which took all of the 'want to' away.
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Post by Samisah » 21 Oct 2018, 16:45

The character Hiram, is a normal flawed human. At first he was completely a terrible parent, very self centred but at the end, he came back and started making amends.

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Post by ianfrb77 » 21 Oct 2018, 23:22

McDowell's first and last personae can hardly be considered as one. The McDowell from the past is absolutely hideous, while the one in the end shows most things his past self lacked.
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