The Mosquito Coast

by Paul Theroux

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Was Allie Fox responsible for his family's breakdown in The Mosquito Coast?

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I think that Allie does bear some blame for the breakdown of his family.  In the end, he represents an end that is not much different than American society, itself.  The desire for perfection invariably ends up leading to a destructive end.  Allie believes that the American society driven by mass consumption is one where it has destroyed all that it has touched.  In the same way, Allie's pursuit of utopia and the steps he takes in order to preserve it, including murder, help to drive his family away from him.  While Allie might be driving towards a perfect society for the Indian tribe and his own sense of self, he does little to fully understand the emotional needs of his family and alienates them in the process of his pursuit of supposed perfection.  The retreat deeper into the jungle with his family reflects a further breakdown of the family, the rupturing of bonds that used to be of loyalty and respect and have become replaced with fear and mistrust:

Forced to leave his now desecrated paradise, Allie finds that his iron-fisted control over his family is slipping. He seeks to regain it by bullying Charlie and his younger brother Jerry even more fiercely than before. He forces the family to head even further into the heart of the jungle's darkness, an outward sign of his own distorted inner world.

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