Modern Day Families Essay, Research Paper
Modern Day Families
Modern families, while they may contain a different amount of members, or members of a different race, than the stereotypical family, are still an amalgamated unit and have the same love for one another no matter how many people, or of what race certain people are, are in it. In Barbara Kingsolver s novel, the Bean Trees, this is proven many times, especially in the bond shared between Taylor, the novel s unlikely protagonist, and Turtle, the small Native American waif who is found by Taylor in a roadside diner. Taylor and Turtle, while their unity may be improbable, still function as a happy constituent, even though they go through many rough times, a case in point being when Turtle was molested in the park (p. 166, chapter 12). It proves that modern families can exist peacefully without having to have a male figure, or, in some cases, a female figure, to guide them. This essay will show many examples of how modern families need not the parental aid of a father figure.
An example of the modern day families working well together is, like previously mentioned, the example of Taylor and Turtle. This can be related directly to the relationship between Taylor and her mother, which is, in actuality, another example of a modern family in action. Taylor is raised without the assistance of a father figure, which allows her to take the initiative and raise Turtle without having a man around. If Taylor had not had her mother s help in growing in that environment, an example of this being how much of a good listener she was to Taylor s everyday problems, even though she had her own (p. 9, chapter 1), Taylor never would have taken the initiative to keep Turtle in the first place.
Another family found in the book, which isn t very nuclear, is Lou Anne and Dwayne Ray. Her husband, Angel, left Lou Anne after Dwayne Ray himself was born; he left to pursue a career in the rodeo (p.63, chapter 4). Lou Anne and Dwayne Ray are more modern because, during the former half of the book, they are both striving to
survive without any strong source of income, which was provided mainly by Angel. As well, since it is only she and her son, they can be considered modern because they do not have any sort of prominent male figure in their lives. This is alleviated when Turtle moves in, which is another example of a modern family, that with two women, instead of a man and a woman. Lou Anne and Taylor live together harmoniously, without any major arguments, which begs the question: are families better off being more modern, in the sense that they contain either only one member, or two members of the same sex?
An additional aspect of modern families that is found in the book is that of interracial families, with children who are either a fully different race (Turtle), or if they are interracial themselves, an example of this being Dwayne Ray, who is half Hispanic and half Caucasian. These aspects are dealt with often in the book, with such things as the hardships that Taylor went through in order to legally adopt Turtle, the privation that Taylor suffered when people would see her with Turtle, and the veritable ostracizing that she is given by Lou Anne when she won t change Turtle s name to April . This isn t to say that these things did not happen at the opposite end of the spectrum, such as when Grandma Logan came to see Lou Anne after she and Angel had split up, and the fear that Lou Anne felt about her relatives knowing that Dwayne Ray was half Mexican.
Throughout the book it is implied that to be in a modern family is not only a good thing, but is also more preferable to being in a normal, nuclear family. By showing these said normal families in a somewhat derogatory light, such as the symbolic destruction of a so-called nuclear family in the departure of Estevan and Esperanza from Turtle, the insinuation that modern families are by far stronger than regular families is almost too strong to deny. As well, it also seems to infer that by having two people in a relationship of the same sex, it might be beneficial to the child. As for the question posed earlier in the essay, a quote from the book seems sufficient: Or a huge family, I suppose, waiting for some important news. They could all hold hands. (p. 229, chapter 17) .