Lim 1 Denise Lim Instructor Munoz English 101 15 September 2011 The Power of Family: No Matter The Situation Have you ever looked at the person next to you no matter what race they are and what their family was like? If their family was better than yours? More supportive than yours? Or was just happier than yours? I am sure through everybody’s life and problems there has been a point in some time where you look around you to compare. Using stories and research such as “The Color of Family Ties” by Gerstel and Sarkisian and “An Indian Story” by Roger Jack, we can see how families are different and written by different points of views.
By analyzing nontraditional families such as in “An Indian Story” and “Looking For Work” by Gary Soto, you can see how there are differences but yet similarities that would surprise you. Some families that are non traditional, per se according to society, have a better life and relationship than what we call the normal nuclear family.
In Roger Jack’s “An Indian Story”, it speaks about an Indian boy and his relationship with his father. The relationship is not that great at all and he decides to leave so he can go live with his aunt. When Roger went to live with his aunt, they became close and they traveled to many different places together.
Missing his relationship with his father, he decides to move home even though his father has already remarried and Roger doesn’t like that. Roger decides to follow after his father’s footsteps and become an accountant. Throughout this story, you see how even though they are a minority because they are an Indian family, they still have strong family bonds even though time spent is minimal with some and more with others. Even though Roger Jack and his father don’t see or speak to each other for a while,Roger goes home because he has completely made his aunt mad by getting into trouble/getting nto fights/ getting thrown in jail. According to Gerstel and Sarkisian’s research “Even if they don’t live Lim 2 together, Blacks and Latinos/as are likely as Whites – and in some ways more likely – to be supportive family members. ” (63) His father always can sense somethings wrong and be tuned in to his son. “He was alone when I arrived at his house. As usual I walked through the front door without knocking, but immediately heard him call out, “Son? ” “Yeah,” I said as I went to sit on a couch facing him. “How did you know it was me? ” He smiled, said hello, and told me a father is always tuned in to his son. (55) Even though the family is a multi unit family because of his father remarrying and they having a child together, when it comes down to it, the father and the son will always have a connection. “Looking for Work” by Gary Soto captures everyone dreams in America which is the dream of living in a beautiful house in a suburb, with green grass, 2 cars in the drive way and a white picket fence out front. He uses the analogy of a TV show to bring his point across. “For weeks I had drunk Kool-Aid and watched morning reruns of Father Knows Best, whose family was so uncomplicated in its routine that I very much wanted to imitate it.
The first step was to get my brother and sister to wear shoes at dinner. ” (27) Mr. Soto writes this short story from the eyes of a nine year old mexican american and all he wants is the perfect family so everyone will like them. “I tried to convince them that if we improved the way we looked we might get along better in life. White people would like us more. They might invite us to places, like their homes or front yards. They might not hate us so much. ” (30) He writes the story with great detail describing a day in the life of this young boy who is seeking to become rich and accepted.
From the story, this young boy lives in a pretty okay neighborhood and that it is not a super rich area but it seems to be a okay area. He goes and does odd jobs for the neighbors and he seems to be accepted by the adults. You know he is a mexican – american and he is spiritual. The boy is kind, sharing and concerned for the welfare of others. From reading this story I see alot of what everyone wants. Not just a mexican – american boy who goes out to do odd jobs or take his sister swimming but entire nation. We are all fed this idealistic world out there by what we see on tv and in the media.
We set our selvess up in society for this and structure ourselves socially so that we Lim 3 can all dream for the better. A few things that were interesting is that he never spoke of his father and what he did for a living, just what all the neighbors do. He does mention his mother a couple times and it seems she is the one runs the household but this would be typical for the time period this young boy grew up in and that the father worked and that is all he did and the mother was the one to take of all the things in the house and kids.
These two stories show that, even though they are not an idealistic family, they can still be a happy healthy family in their own way. With all that is going on, the families in both stories are not your typical white families but are minorities that people assume do not have high morals, respect, family values, or class. According to Gerstel and Sarkisian, “Blacks and Latinos/ as are more likely than Whites to say they believe that extended family is important; both groups are also more likely to attend religious services.
Blacks tend to thold more egalitarian beliefs about gender than Whites, while Latinos/as, especially Mexican Americans, tend to hold more “traditional” views. But these differences in values do not explain racial differences in actual involvement with relatives. ” (64) This shows that no matter what race you are, the similarities are there and so are the differences. In “Looking For Work” by Gary Soto, he showed that Mexican Americans tend to hold more “traditional” views because he wanted to be like the white family on TV that ate around the dinner table as a family and wore shoes.
He wanted to be like the families that he thought would make him more accepted. “Even if they don’t live together, Blacks and Latinos/ as are as likely as Whites- and in some ways more likely -to be supportive family members. ” (63) This statement is definitely shown in the story for “An Indian Story” by Roger Jack. Even though he decided to leave his father’s house and move in with his aunt, when he decided to return home, his father welcomed him with open arms and made it seem like nothing had changed.
I think when it comes to minorities in society, they are thought of being disorganized and not a traditional nuclear family because of the stereotype that society has created. Roger Jack’s story is showing the family not as a static set of defined relationships but as a social Lim 4 network that adapts to the ever-changing circumstances and needs of its members. In both of the stories, you can see that no matter how the families are portrayed in the story that they love each other and make it work for themselves.
Even though in “An Indian Story”, Roger Jack’s mom has passed away at a young age, he still has his father and in “Looking For Work” by Gary Soto, he only mentions his mother and siblings, never really mentioning his father, they still managed to show love and make it work for the families. The similarities of being raised by a single parent most of their lives and wanting everything that a typical “nuclear traditional” family has is a sign of the fact that we all strive for the same thing. There is determination to get to the same goal and be as perfect as we can be in our own eyes without any judgement.
Just because you see a married couple with children doesnt necessarily mean that they have an idealistic home life. On the outside it can be percieved that way but we will never know the inner workings of a family unless we spend time with them. We can only determine our own family destiny and perfect that. All we need is our family and that will give us so much power in life. Lim 5 Works Cited Sarkisian, Natalia. “The Color Of Family Ties. ” Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. By Naomi Gerstel. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s. 63. Print. Soto, Gary. “Looking For Work. Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s. 27. Print. Soto, Gary. “Looking For Work. ” Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s. 30. Print. Sarkisian, Natalia. “The Color Of Family Ties. ” Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. By Naomi Gerstel. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s. 64. Print. Sarkisian, Natalia. “The Color Of Family Ties. ” Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. By Naomi Gerstel. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s. 63. Print.
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