In the book The Mosquito Coast, what is the relationship between Allie Fox and his son Charlie Fox? How does it change throughout the book?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Paul Theroux's The Mosquito Coastcharacters face constant physical and psychological challenges and yet rather than grow from these experiences, they progressively devolve into smaller, more helpless versions of themselves.

Charlie Fox (the book's narrator) and his family are uprooted from where they live in small town...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In Paul Theroux's The Mosquito Coastcharacters face constant physical and psychological challenges and yet rather than grow from these experiences, they progressively devolve into smaller, more helpless versions of themselves.

Charlie Fox (the book's narrator) and his family are uprooted from where they live in small town Massachusetts to a remote area in Honduras by their father, the increasingly mad Allie Fox. Allie detests American culture and strongly believes that if man possesses a strong work ethic, man has no need for God; he can just depend on himself to achieve whatever he desires. Charlie wholeheartedly believes his father's rantings, even accepting the lie that America is in demise.

In Honduras, Allie creates a new Do-It-Yourself lifestyle for his family. However, in his struggle to preserve this lifestyle and enact the unbendable rules of his own making, Allie becomes increasingly mad to the point of physically and psychologically tormenting the family. In one example, he forces Charlie to sit on a boulder until the tide washes in to make Charlie prove his loyalty to him.

Charlie's view of his father changes throughout the book as he quickly realizes that Allie is far from the perfect self-made man he has claimed to be. After encountering a group of missionaries and learning that America is still intact and thriving, Charlie comes to abhor his father. He and his brother, Jerry, consider killing him. Charlie's relationship with Allie changes in that he become less and less fearful of him, turning the respect and devotion he once had for him into hatred. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team