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Bureau of Missing PersonsWriting the Secret Lives of Fathers$
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Roger J. Porter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449871

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449871.001.0001

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Freedom or Exploitation?

(p.186) Conclusion
Bureau of Missing Persons

Roger J. Porter

Cornell University Press

This book concludes by raising a number of questions related to adult children's memoirs and autobiographies about their fathers' secrets. One question has to do with the relation of secrets and secrecy to private life. If we think that the right to privacy is part of what constitutes our personhood and that concealment is an almost sacred privilege, then we might argue that that the secrets of others must not be exposed under any circumstances. A corollary question is whether there is something important about not knowing the secret. One also wonders whether the writers, should they have children of their own, will fear to be exposed in turn as inadequate failures and violators of their children's trust. It would be interesting to know how the writers, especially those who show little forgiveness to their fathers, regard their project as they age.

Keywords:   adult children, memoirs, autobiographies, fathers, secrets and secrecy, private life, privacy, personhood, concealment, forgiveness

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