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Untraditional Families Essay

1546 words - 7 pages

Untraditional Families
Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarksian have shed new light on the subject of minority families and their differences to the traditional nuclear families in their essay, “The Color of Family Ties.” According to their work, those of White descent make up most of all nuclear families which can be described as a father, mother and children all living in one household. Gerstel and Sarkasian point out that it is not always the case that, “Black and Latino/a, especially Puerto Rican families are more disorganized than White families, and that their families ties are weaker,” as they are often thought of by those in politics or the media (62). In fact Gerstel and Sarkasian ...view middle of the document...

Greta and her husband, Matthew never had any children and she never remarried. Part of the reason for this is that she took care of her father after her mother died. The fact that Greta looked after her father demonstrates another tight family bond and support for one another but it is also evident that the two shared a close relationship. This can be seen in their interaction with one another, “Grandpa changed her Indian name from Little Girl Heart to Old Woman Walking, which he called Grandma when she was alive”(53).Then a short time after, her nephew, Jack, went to live with her. The author states “She [Greta] had so much love and knowledge to share, which she passed on to me naturally and freely” (53). Tradition was very important to this family as well as their Indian culture and Greta made sure to share it with Jack. Throughout the years Jack and his aunt form an even stronger bond and she became a mother to him as they shared many adventures together. It is quite obvious however that Jack’s relationship with his father is weak.
The idea that Jack’s father gave up his parental responsibilities to him shows a lack of family support and a deficient family tie. “Dad came looking for me and Aunt Greta told him what I told her about wanting to move in with her. He said it would be all right for a while. That was a long time ago. Now I am out of high school and going to college” (53). Although the examples of strong support and family unity are demonstrated by Greta to her extended family one can’t help but notice the unbalance in the immediate family.
Despite the lack of his father’s involvement in his life, Jack does not seem to hold any ill feelings towards his father and even states, “My home life and academic life improved a lot after I had moved in with Greta” (53). It is also apparent that they have a strong connection to one another as they have a heart to heart talk after Jack experiences some trouble and gets arrested. Given those details, it is still quite obvious that Jack was not a part of his father’s family. Jack explains that his father continued to grow his family, having more children but Jack did not see them very often. Jack was left out of his father’s nuclear family and he even goes on to say, “It was like we were strangers living a quarter mile from one another” (53). Many could argue that these circumstances are undesirable and frankly quite sad. In the poem “Aunt Ida Pieces a Quilt” by Dixon we do not see any evidence that there is any abandonment by parents and the poem demonstrates stronger family ties and support than those of “An Indian Story.”
“Aunt Ida Pieces a Quilt” is a poem about an elderly woman who is stitching a quilt in memory of her great nephew, Junie, who has died of AIDS. It is a remarkable poem about a close knit family who comes together to help each other during hardship. Like “An Indian Story” this poem speaks of long family traditions and illustrates the importance of family. “My mama and my...

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