The Father By August Strindberg English Literature Essay

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I have just got back from my weekly afternoon tea with the Captain. As usual we chatted about some recent happenings such as, the "Nojd and Emma" incident which has recently mushroomed into the "Nojd and Emma and Ludwig" incident. After Ludwig was dragged into the fray following Nojd's accusations that Ludwig might be the father of Emma's child and not necessarily him.

While chatting about this scandal, I noticed that his face sunk everytime the paternity of Emma's child was questioned. Upon further prodding, he confided that he was having some family problems. After pouring him a glass of whisky, we sat down and he poured his heart out.

As it turned out, the Captain was having a very strained relationship with his wife. I cannot say that I am surprised with this revelation for I have long noticed the domineering attitude of his wife Laura. Their disagreements seemed to be on the issue of their daughter Bertha's future. The Captain dearly wants to see Bertha grow up in atheist environment where logic will guide her on to being a teacher. While Laura would rather have Bertha be an artist. What further complicates the situation as the Captain put it, "My mother-in-law wants to make a Spiritualist of her, the governess wants her to be a Methodist, old Margret a Baptist, and the servant-girls want her to join the Salvation Army!" The Captain really fears that the women in his household were trying to mould Bertha's soul in such a patch-like manner and wants to send her off to a boarding school, so as to leave behind this messy clutter and to acquire proper training for the vocation that the Captain desires to see his daughter enter; teaching.

I am very agreeable with the idea of him sending Bertha off to boarding school for it will only do her good, as schooling will enable her to acquire a wide repertoire of useful skills which will greatly aid her in her career as a teacher.

After comforting the Captain with the knowledge that the Swedish law is behind him and that Laura and the rest of the ladies are by law, powerless to stop him from enforcing his decision of sending Bertha off to boarding school. After promising to visit him tomorrow, I left his residence feeling rather perplex by his career choice for Bertha.

March 19, 1880

Got up bright and early to a very sunny day and set off for the Captain's residence in the afternoon. Finding him in a rather worrisome state, I poured us a glass of Whisky each and asked him if he still intend to send Bertha off to a boarding school. He nodded in affirmation and told me that he must act soon for his mother-in-law has already started the process of spiritual indoctrination on Bertha.

As we silently sipped our Whisky in his study, I took the opportunity to ask him why he wants Bertha to be a teacher. He replied that he does not want to educate Bertha exclusively for matrimony, for then if she were left unmarried she might have bitter days. On the other hand he does not want to influence her toward a career that requires a long course of training which would be entirely thrown away if she should marry. Hence he wants her to be a teacher. He argues that, if Bertha remains single she will be able to support herself, and at any rate she will not be any worse off than the "poor school-masters who have to share their salaries with a family". Whereas if Bertha gets married, she can still use her knowledge in the education of her children.

I must confess this is the first time I have ever heard a father plan so carefully for the future of his daughter. In this modern age and day, this is simply unheard of as daughters are meant to be married off and bear descendants for her husband.

The Captain then proceeded to tell me about one of his chats with Laura's brother the Pastor. His brother-in-law was commenting that he should keep the women in his house in check as he "let them run things too much (in the house)". When they started talking about how burdened they both were, when the topic switched to Laura. Apparently, in Laura's brother's word "she was pretty troublesome". Naturally talks of this nature will include Bertha and the Captain wants to send her away as soon as possible for "the whole house is topsy-turvy. Laura won't let Bertha leave her, and I can't allow her to remain in this bedlam."

What the Captain told me next about his conversation enabled me to see how dangerous and treacherous Laura can be. In her brother's own words, "When she (Laura) was a child if she set her mind on anything she used to play dead dog till she got it, and then likely as not she would give it back, explaining that it wasn't the thing she wanted, but having her own way"

Promising to meet up with him the next month we parted for the day, I felt a sense of great unease settle over me.

March 31, 1880

I headed over to the place of my good friend, Doctor Ã-stermark to have a chat with him. When we ran out of topics to discuss, I asked him if he had any interesting news to share. He paused for awhile and with a grave look and a deep sigh informed me that he suspects that my friend, the Captain maybe insane.

I was rather taken aback by this news and at once asked him what evidences suggests so.

Doctor Ã-stermark had been called to the Captain's residence by Laura, who in the presence of her brother, the pastor, formally accused the captain of committing an act of violence that was so rash and violent, that no sane man could have even thought of doing so. Bewildered I implored Doctor Ã-stermark to elaborate on the exact nature of the violent act. He hesitated but upon skillful prodding, he relented and told me that Laura accused her husband of throwing a lighted lamp at her! I was shocked beyond words when the second blow came, "I have ordered the nurse in his household to slip this jacket (straitjacket) onto the Captain, from behind. I find it necessary to prevent another outbreak of violence." As I looked at the sinister looking jacket that the doctor was holding. I made up my mind to meet the Captain before our scheduled meeting on the 19th of April, so as to clear up any misunderstandings which I believed to have occurred.

After bidding farewell to Doctor Ã-stermark, I headed home immediately and intend to go to bed early. I plan to visit the Captain tomorrow.


In the morning of the 1st of April1880, while on his way to the residence of the Captain, the owner of this diary was ran over by a horse carriage, he died on the spot. God bless his soul.

Word Count: 1480