The Dead Father Summary
Donald Barthelme

Everything you need to understand or teach The Dead Father by Donald Barthelme.

  • The Dead Father Summary & Study Guide
  • 1 Short Guide
  • ...and more
Follow Us on Facebook

The Dead Father Summary

The Dead Father fully supports Barthelme's claim that in the contemporary age, physicist Werner Heisenberg's "uncertainty principle is our song of songs." Although his treatment of the necessity of living in a permanent state of uncertainty is comic, Barthelme's undermining of all forms of authority and authoritative discourse is just as serious as it is playful. His novel grotesquely exaggerates the father's size only to better emphasize his ridiculousness as a caricature of Freudian Oedipal conflict. The Dead Father everywhere implies what one passage in the inserted "A Manual for Sons" makes explicit: Your true task, as a son, is to reproduce every one of the enormities touched upon in this manual, but in attenuated form. You must become your father, but a paler, weaker version of him. The enormities go with the job, but close study will allow you to perform the job less well than...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

The The Dead Father Study Pack contains:

The Dead Father Short Guide