While reading Jimmy Corrigan, the main protagonist Jimmy is portrayed as a lonely middle-aged man who does not have much going for him in his life. From the start of the novel it is prevalent that his father’s presence was absent during Jimmy’s childhood. Based on the dreams Jimmy has over the course of the novel, it can be seen the struggles he faces with coming to terms with his relationship with his father.
Jimmy expresses his anxiety in meeting and getting to know his father. It appears that either he has never known his father or time has made him forget. Because of that, his mind started to create multiple case scenarios on how he thought his father would actually be like. While he was waiting at the airport for his father to pick him up, we are shown various depictions of men with their eyes censored. The fact that each of these figures call out a different greeting to Jimmy demonstrates the ambiguity he feels towards his father. The truth is he does not know anything about his father- physical features, personality, and his feelings for his son.
Jimmy’s initial worries upon meeting with his father manifested themselves into his unconscious. One of the dreams that Jimmy has during his visit to see his father entailed a little horse named Amos. In it, his father is depicted as a rather cruel and unforgiving character. He openly curses at his son in rage and is unwilling to give him a chance to explain himself. It is evident that Jimmy is afraid of his father in this dream because he cowers, wondering to Amos, “Whut hast we done now? Whut is it we hast done NOW?” This implies that his father has gotten angry with him previously and the dread in Jimmy’s words is noticeable. Because Amos, Jimmy’s friend, was accused by his father of breaking the rules and defying him, he was ordered to be put down. Considering Jimmy’s initial anxiety upon meeting up with is father at the airport, it is understandable his concern that his father might be an unforgiving and harsh person.
Jimmy’s dream continues with him seeking guidance from a man named Avery. Avery tries to explain to Jimmy his father’s intentions are not out of cruelty, but rather his desire to teach his son a lesson in character. He implies that Jimmy’s father is a man of principle who keeps his word even if it is a hard one. From this interaction, it is a possibility that Jimmy’s subconscious mind was struggling with itself to figure out judgment on his father; on the one hand he could possibly be seen as a malicious and vile-mouthed man, but on the other he could be a harsh man who is strict in teaching moral lessons to his son. Either way, Jimmy in the end caved to his father’s demands. This action is perhaps a continuation of Jimmy’s conscious personality. In his everyday interaction with the people around him Jimmy is submissive and awkward because he does not ever want to do or say anything to offend anyone. His mother continues to nag him even when he meekly tells her that he will call her later in the day. He is unable to talk to women despite his interest in them. Because Jimmy’s tendency to be steamrolled by others, his portrayal in the dream is fairly accurate to how he is in real life. Due to that, his reaction in his dream is a realistic depiction of how he would react if his father were such a brutal tyrant.
Jimmy’s dream shows his concern with his perception of his father. His vivid imagination gets carried away in his subconscious.