The question of illegitimacy echoes throughout Season of Youth. There are three sons: the narrator, the eldest, who leads a dissolute life but whose aspirations to be a writer begin to take shape over the course of the novel; 'Dapper Dan the bastard' who becomes relatively wealthy and successful on the shady - illegitimate - side of the law but who also seems to be the most sentimental towards his mother; and, Peter, the youngest, whose aspirations are petit-bourgeois and whose gifts are for social climbing. ... Dan and Peter vie for favouritism and, at least in the family circle, act like model sons. But the end of the novel, after the mother's death, finds the narrator moving back in with his father as the other two sons clear out. We can scarcely speak of reconcilitation, for nothing much has changed in the relation between father and son ... (David Carter A Career in Writing : Judah Waten and the Cultural Politics of a Literary Career (1997): 236).