Families

Przednia okładka
Transaction Publishers, 1 sty 1998 - 254

In Families Jane Howard informally visits many dozens of families and tries to discover what makes the best ones work so well. Families are not dying, she finds, although they are evolving in various ways. From the tightest-knit nuclear family or extended clan to the most fragile new commune, the family in one guise or another remains everybody's most basic hold on reality. We may run away from our families as many do, but no sooner do we escape than we find another one, often very much like it.

Sympathetically, with immense thrust, she crosses the continent to discover families' myths, jokes, and rituals. She leafs through their scrapbooks, sits on their porches, and takes part, when she can, in their feasts and celebrations. She talks to a father of eighteen, several double first cousins, stepchildren, multiple godmothers, an honorary relative of an Indian tribe, and a nine-year-old boy who has no family but his mother. She sits with a matriarch on the front stoop of a ghetto house, goes camping with a family in Mexico, has Thanksgiving with another in Iowa, and orders pizza with a Greek clan in Massachusetts.

Howard reports on visits to conventional Southern and Jewish households and to innovative ones whose members, lacking a common history, plan on building common futures as if water were after all as thick as blood. She examines the notion that "there are ways and ways of achieving kinship, of which birth and marriage are only the most obvious."

Millions of clans and families all over the United States continue to celebrate, quarrel, disband, reunite, and endure. Jane Howard makes us realize how our lives are interwoven both with the families we are born into and with those we invent as we go through life.

Families is compassionate, provocative, and profound. The paperback edition of this important work will be essential reading for all those with an interest in the study of familial bonds, particularly sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists.

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Families aren't dying out, they are changing in remarkable ways. Przeczytaj pełną recenzję

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Strona 29 - They fuck you up, your mum and dad, They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you.
Strona 56 - Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-inlaw against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Strona 113 - And may her bridegroom bring her to a house Where all's accustomed, ceremonious; For arrogance and hatred are the wares Peddled in the thoroughfares. How but in custom and in ceremony Are innocence and beauty born?
Strona 55 - We have now reached the consummation of democratic blessedness. We have a country governed by blockheads and knaves ; the ties of marriage with all its felicities are severed and destroyed ; our wives and daughters are thrown into the stews ; our children are cast into the world from the breast and forgotten ; filial piety is extinguished, and our surnames, the only mark of distinction among families, are abolished. Can the imagination paint anything more dreadful on this side hell?
Strona 36 - Ianguage, moreover, the title of pater, or pater famiUas, might be given to a man who had no children, who was not married, and who was not even of age to contract marriage. The idea of paternity, therefore, was not attached to this word. The old language had another word which properly designated the father, and which, as ancient as pater , is likewise found in the language of the Greeks, of the Romans, and of the Hindus (gdmtar, yfc^TrJ£, genitor).
Strona 31 - ... Chronicle, how often the family spoke of him, speculated about him, making him present in his absence. (One reason for the popularity of the movie The Godfather was its near sanctification of the family, which was seen to be larger than caste or class or culture or geography.) For the family is, indeed, inescapable. You may revile it, renounce it. reject it — but you cannot resign from it; you are born into it, and it lives within and through you, to the end of your days.
Strona 36 - Hindus (gdmtar, yfc^TrJ£, genitor). The word pater had another sense. In religious language they applied it to the gods; in legal language to every man who had a worship and a domain. The poets show us that they applied it to every one whom they wished to honor. The slave and the client applied it to their master. It was synonymous with the words rex, aval;, {Javdetg. It contained in itself not the idea of paternity, but that of power, authority, majestic dignity.

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