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The Bonfire of the Vanities

Wolfe, Tom | Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1987


pp. 432 - 433

“And in that moment Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their father sooner or later. For the first time he realized that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own, and best as he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps, love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector who would keep the lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life. And now that boy, that good actor, had grown old and fragile and tired, wearier than ever at the thought of trying to hoist the Protector’s armor back onto his shoulders again. . . . an ‘old, gray-haired lad.”