A father’s presence contributes to the development of a child. They are the first introduction to males that a child has. Specifically, the emotional connection they have to their daughters plays a vital role in the establishment of their self-esteem, mental health and the ability to interact. Jija’s connection to Nassun has always confused me. Jija’s fear for the orogene race led him to take the life of his only son. Yet despite being as enraged and violent as he was, Jija refrained from attacking Nassun and fled with her instead. This need to spare his own daughter is daunting in light of the traumatic event that occurred just previously. It is a display of the strong emotional connection within a father/daughter relationship.
Jija’s demeanor shows signs of an authoritative parenting style, which allows for close bonding with strong limitations. The father/daughter dynamic is inherently more restrictive than that of a father/son relationship. Sons are often seen as potential equals to their fathers, being molded to one day mimic them. Daughters, however, are receivers of every insecurity and fear a father has. Daughters are seen as vulnerable and in need of more personalized care. While that is understandable, given the traditional practices, Jija’s fixation on Nassun was slightly unnerving. As the detailing of their relationship continued, it seemed as though Nassun felt a sense of emotional responsibility towards her father. Not in the same sense a regular child would, in hope of not disappointing them. Instead, Nassun seemed to be obligated to uphold Jija’s mental stability. She comes to terms with the fact that her life depends on understanding him. She knew that he was “never stable” and in need of “only the merest brush to unleash aeon’s worth of pent-up energy” (The Obelisk Gate, 113).
Jija was unable to even hear the word orogene without being brought back to that initial hostility. And yet, he was able to live alongside his daughter, a powerful being that was actively practicing orogeny. Why? Well, I think Jija had a level of dependency on Nassun. To him, she was the only tie back to normalcy that he had left. His wife had deceived him and in his rage and he had killed his only son. By keeping Nassun, he kept part of himself. However, this meant that he began to be emotionally dependant on Nassun for validation and support. This type of codependency can be very harming to a child. It blurs the boundaries of a father/daughter relationship. It installs the idea that a child’s devotion can substitute a spouse’s affection. This causes Nassun to become confused as to what a healthy paternal relationship should be. Nassun, later on, becomes attached to Schaffa. Due to her unhealthy relationship with Jija, She has very little sense of self-identification and instead becomes completely dependant on the primary male figure in her life.