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In Mary Morris’s “The Lifeguard,” the main character Josh Michaels grew up without his father, but he doesn’t idolize him the way Les did in  Richard Ford’s “Communist”. In the story, Josh’s father is not mentioned much and Josh does not seem to be phased by the fact his father is dead. The only instance that he relates to not having a father figure is shown in the quote: “This secret world of women seemed ever closed to me”(Morris,425). At a young age, boys look up to their fathers for guidance on how to interact with women. Without a father, Josh tries to learn about this world on his own, but he only knows how to attract women physically.

So he eventually becomes so self-absorbed that he can’t fulfill his job and ends up almost letting a child die. If it was not for Mrs.Lovenheim, the child would have died and that guilty feeling hung over him and caused him that night to visit Mrs. Lovenheim, Once there he introduces himself to her and thanks her for what she had done. Then without even noticing it, he starts crying and repeating “I didn’t know what to do”(Morris,431). At that moment Josh reached manhood, because he realized that he has to take time and think about his life and become less self-absorbed and focus more on his work.

Growing up without a father figure can ultimately affect the personality and actions of a child.Depending on the location and what other figures are there to lead them it can be a great decider for the future.

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