In the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, James Vane is extremely protective of his sister and wants to provide for his family, therefore, making him exhibit the “father-figure” role the best. James is Sibyl’s sixteen year old brother who is becoming a sailor and is getting ready to leave for Australia. As the brother of Sibyl, James acts more as “father-figure” or guardian to his sister rather than her sibling. Sibyl is falling in love with a handsome, young man named Dorian Gray.
James hears a “gentleman comes every night to the theatre, and goes behind [stage] to talk o [Sibyl]” (Wilde 46). He is curious to know every detail on the relationship with his sister and Dorian and whether or not the attachment is serious. All he asks of his mother is to “watch over Sibyl” (47) once he leaves for Australia.Once he is not around, there will not be a man in Sibyl’s life to protect her or “watch over” (47) her like James does. James knows his mother is only happy for Sibyl because Dorian promises his status and wealth. Their mother wants her daughter to marry into money for the family’s sake despite who Dorian really is as a person and the rotection of her only daughter. On the other hand, James believes Dorian will only “harm” (46) her. He is only trying to protect his sister from the dangers of love.
Since him and his sister do not have a father or “father-figure” in their life, James has to watch out for his sister like a father would. Fathers always protect their daughters from boys who break their hearts, and that is what James is doing. He questions Sibyl about why she does not “reveal [her] new friend” (49) to her brother.He claims to have the “right to know” (49) about her new love.
Sibyl describes her new love to her brother as her “Prince Charming” (50). James threatens her that if her “Prince Charming” (50) ever does “any wrong, [he] shall kill him” (50). This vow foreshadows the damage Dorian will cause with Sibyl in the future by breaking her heart and causing her so much pain. While Sibyl just laughs it off and does not take her brother’s vow seriously, James means every word when he makes his vow. James wants to make sure Sibyl knows what she is getting erself in to.
Also trying to protect his sister and keep her from harm, James says he wants to one day provide for his family. James and Sibyl’s parents did not marry and their father let them without “provision” (52). His mother and sister act to pay off their debts in poor theaters.
James dreams of one day when he is able to make some “money to take [his mother] and [sister] off the stage. ” (46). If he is able to make a good amount of money, he will be able provide for his family like his father was suppose to.