Marriage and Family Vignette

Table of Content


            By definition, the blue family regardless of their relationship within the house is a family by sociological standard. A family has been described as consisting of a groups or individuals who are related to or bound in personal commitment to one anther by blood, marriage, or law. The Blue family seemed to be problematic as each one of the six members is confronting an unusual situation. The Blues are poor and their children seemed to lacked proper values as they often involve in youth violence. They were all jobless and only Mr. Blue is the income earner for the family.

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            Thus, it appears that the family’s economic situation plays significant role in the miseries of the family. It is quite clear that the attitudes of all the members of the Blue family had something to do with their economic situation.

Analysis From a sociological viewpoint

            Based on the current situation, it appears that the blue family has a crisis of relationship, as everyone seemed to be at a mess regarding their respective responsibilities within their family structure. At the onset, there are factors affecting the Blue family. First, they are a poor family. Obviously, their financial situation denied the blue children of education, as none of them were never made to go to school.

            Second, the Blue couple was a not good example to their children. Mr. Blue never involves his family in the decision making for the family’s welfare. He even hits his wife in front of their children and unreasonably demands obedience. He drinks constantly, hits his children, and never shows any positive emotion except being angry and his hatred to his manager. As a result, the blue children appeared to be uncultured, and each one is in a problematic situation. Third, the Blue couple lacks caring and loving concern for their children and for each other. Their parents obviously, did not care about their children and was a bad example to them, no wonder they seemed to be at a mess in the family. Fourth, the marriage of Blue couple seemed to be based on the wrong reasons for married. In the class lecture material, it identified why people do marry, as well the right and the wrong reasons of getting married. The material stated that wrong reasons of getting married include physical attractions, economic security, pressures from others including parents, peers, pregnancy, and so forth. The case of Mr. Blue’s marriage is example of wrong reason for married; he married Mrs. Blue because of her pregnancy.

            The issue of poverty is may be a well-defined issue and yet it may have the most and far-reaching consequences in many families under it. The situation of the Blue family is a classic example of the far-reaching consequences of poverty. As both Mr. Blue and Mrs. Blue grew up in poverty, they were denied of the opportunity to pursue college education, which could have changed their lives for better. Their lack of better education has not only affected their economic status but also their behaviors towards each other and their children. Their family values were unrefined and their children’s outlook in life was poor. Indeed, their family situation is miserable not just perhaps because of material insufficiency, but because of negative family values.

            Sociologist says, “We are all product of social forces” which are social factors that cause us to behave the way we do and make the choices we make. This viewpoint is true to the Blue family.  The Blue couple both ‘grew up in poverty’. Poverty is defined as the lack of necessities that include shelter, basic foods, education, medical care and safety. Ted K. Bradshaw (2005) cited that the fundamental nature of poverty is inequality (p. 4).

            The Blue family has obviously been confronting many problems, Although the current neighbors seemed to be more stable and have a better family values, it was clear that these social forces that had shaped the character and the outlook of both Mr. and Mrs. Blue. Apparently, their behavior and their situation is a product of the three main social forces that affected their lives such as history, culture, and environment. Mr. Blue’s experience reveals that even at his age, his father still interferes with him and even hit him. His manager constantly yells at him, and perhaps at his young age forced to become a father when Mrs. Blue got pregnant by him at the age of sixteen. Mr. Blue was suddenly force to take up the obligations.

            Mr. Blue never involves his family in the decision making for the welfare of his own family. His family does not feel their importance and their part in building the family and they all seemed a burden for their father. This tendency is reflected by the attitude of Mr. Blue particularly in his unreasonable demands for obedience, his brutal attitudes towards his wife and children, his hatred towards his manager, and his uncaring and lack of loving concern for his children, in contrast with the other families in the neighborhood. Both Mr. and Mrs. Blue shared the same attitude towards their family, thus, the result is unpleasant family relationship, and bleak future for their children. Evidently, the family is lacking positive values that the children can draw strength and encouragement to aspire for a better life. Every one of the Blue children is obviously misguided. Based on the conflict theory, the Blue family was grossly missing the right way towards a better economic life. Conflict theory states that our society is made up of groups and individuals who greatly endeavor, and struggle over the inadequate resources and rewards that are obtainable in our society. The Blue family lacks the competitive attitude to gain such obtainable resources; rather they allow themselves to be passive against their miserable condition. However, the Blues misery is not only caused by the lack of competitive attitude, but also by the lack of proper values that could have generated a right motivation to work hard. Without the right motivation they cannot strive to compete and struggle to gain their share in the available resources such as education, instead they will end up in frustration in their own predicament. The question therefore is how the Blues can have a right motivation. In this case, it is important for the Blues to understand the structural theory of functionalism, which holds that every individual member of the society has his or her own function. This theory holds that it is one of the functions of parents to teach their children specific values or the difference between right and wrong.


            The problem with the Blues is only Mr. Blue is earning for the family. The structural functionalism holds that every member of the society has two different functions, one is the so-called Manifest function and the Latent functions. The manifest function are the specific functions intended to do by the society, a group, or individuals, while the latent are not intended and are  a result of manifest function. According to this theory, the manifest function is to make sure each members of the society follow the rules of law. The latent function on the other hand means the consequences of the specific method to discipline a child. Based on this theory the question that must be answered is what is the function of the family? Understanding the function of the family will certainly help the Blue couple to put things right in their family.

            The problem of the Blue family is that they lacked healthy socialization. Their neighbor seemed to be not the type of people who can provide them socialization by which they can adapt some important principles that will help them aligned their family towards a certain goal.

            Albert Bandura in his Gender Socialization pointed out that, “through socialization we adopt our characteristic and values, and behaviors as well our gender role. Mr. Blue’s behavior towards his family reflect that he rule his family through brutal control pushing his wife to seek divorce against him. The role he understood is the traditional male domination of the family. Thus, he exerts control of his family through brutal control.  The effect of this control affects his children as they tend to rebel against their father by making what they want regardless of whether their parents will approve or not. The result is that all the Blue children is having individual problem. Their actions show their utter disregard of the family values as well as the family’s honor and their own way of looking for belongingness and affection through having illicit relationship. The role the children should perform in the family is not clear to them or to their parents.

            Because of this, Stephanie Coontz in her comparison of the families in the 1950s with today’s America’s families, expressed pessimism in her Social Problems and The Family,  that though families of today have a lot of advantages, Coontz showed that today’s families is worse than the past. The reason for this according to Coontz is that our social institutions have changed too little. Coontz cited an excerpt from a life magazine I 1999 expressing pessimisms on the future of America’s families. The excerpt emphasized that families today are being shaken by an epidemic of social crises crumbling America’s families. Among these social crises are the highest divorce rates in the world, higher percentage of unmarried women, fewer babies of the educated women, the influx of immigrant children, the proliferation of the use of illegal drugs, and the increase of violence among teenagers. The Blue children are not far from these social realities, in fact, the Blue boys were suspended from fighting, and Linda, the younger sister kicks the neighbor’s dog, all these seems to be a preview that this violent behavior of the Blue children will soon lead to violence that is more serious if they will not be properly handled.

            As social forces cause us to make decision, it is important that one should reflect on the conflict theory to be able to make a decision to achieve what is being desired. The marriage of the Blue couple seemed to be a good example of the decision caused by social forces. It seemed obvious that their marriage was based on their feelings for each other but with the necessity because they children already. Their relationship shows that they do no have mutual relationship; instead, Mr. Blue emphasized his role as the sole authority in the family. Again, conflict theory focuses on the unequal distribution of power, prestige, and wealth.

            This theory tells, “There is a constant struggle for power, prestige, and wealth in the society” that shapes the everyday lives, and interacts between groups and individuals and it is the basis of racial, ethnic, and class inequality, that affects relations between nations.

            One important aspect that can be noticed in the Blue family is the lack of proper communication with each other. Her wife being a homemaker could not be a problem as long as they both agreed this division of labor. However, given the present economic trend in the American society, women who are fulltime homemakers occupy low status, low- prestige, and low economic value. Most women tend to work outside the home to contribute to the family income. The economic need which is affected by the need to maintain a standard of living, high inflation, interest rates, and shrinking wages forces women to work outside the home. The situation of Mrs. Blue is obviously subordinate and therefore viewed by Mr. Blue as a status. This explains his attitude towards Mrs. Blue, and why, he can afford to hit his wife even in the front of their children. Mr. Blue asserts his authority, as he believes that alone has the absolute authority. The struggle of Mr. Blue to gain and maintain power is reflected by his demand of respect and by his public display of such authority, regardless of who ever will be hurt. Mr. Blues attitude however, also conforms to the social class that he belongs. Week 3 lectures on the social class states that blue-collar families “are likely to stress obedience, respect, for parents, and conformity.” The Week 3 lectures further stated that Blue-collar families internalize those values that causes to remaining the same social class.


            The miseries of the Blue family can be related to poverty but their situation cannot be blamed entirely to this social condition. Based on the theory of functionalism, the blue family needs to be reeducated on the function of the family. While it is apparent, that Mrs. Blues effort to put things right with her husband’s behavior fails, she can still do something to save her family from disintegrating, and from the threat of ruins brought by uncontrollable actions both by her husband and by her own children.

            Socializing her family is one option by which her family might learn the family values. The only problem perhaps is that the Blue neighbors may be just not the right people who can help in their problem. However, she could herself seek the help of marriage counselor who gives free counseling. I believe, unless each of the Blue family members understands their rule and function in the family; they will never be able to pit their own situation right.

Reference List

Bradshaw T. K. 2006 Theories of Poverty and Anti-Poverty Programs in Community Development

Week 2 Conflict Theory a Macro Level Theory

Coontz, S. Structure and Functionalism- Social Problems and the Family: A Macro level theory

Week 2 Gender Socialization

Week 3 Lectures Social Class and the family

Lecture 4 The Marital system

Lecture 5 Work and the Family


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