When most people think of families

When most people think of families, they think of and picture the families you see on T.V or the family in the picture on a new picture frame. We never quite think of or picture the families that don’t have a father or mother figure, or the ones that are raised by other family members and not their parents. When the word family comes to mind it goes straight to the ideal and picture perfect family because we tend to think that those are the only families that exist, even when we ourselves do not live in that type of family. In the article, ” The Color of Family Ties” by Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian, the authors bring up the fact that nuclear families are the only type of family to be able to function as a family, be supportive, and have strong family connections. They also discover that nontraditional families have a stronger and more supportive family ties compared to white nuclear families. “When it comes to help with practical tasks, however, we find that Black and Latino relatives are more likely than whites to to be supportive, they are more likely to give eachother help with household work and child care.” (Gerstel and Sarkisian 47). Most minority families are considered nontraditional families, in a nontraditional family there might not always be a dad present or in some cases a mom, which means it leaves the one parent having to do everything for their children, but by having strong family ties and support it is easier for them to arrange rides or child care meanwhile they work or what it is that they need to do for the family. In the short novel “An Indian Story’ by Roger Jack there is an example on how there is caregiving and solidarity in a nontraditional family. It is also seen in the memoir “Looking for work” by Gary Soto that Gary is fixed on the idea of being the perfect family like he sees on T.V, he struggles on letting that idea because he believes that what he sees is how a family is supposed to look and act. These two nontraditional families show how supportive relationships and very strong family ties goes along way rather than having a nuclear family, it also shows that you do not need to have a perfect ideal family as seen on T.V in order to have what is considered an organized family, a nuclear family is not the only kind of family that exist and the more it is realized the more these nontraditional families will be considered a normal family.
In the memoir “Looking For Work” by Gary Soto, there is an obvious non traditional family in the story. There is no father figure mentioned throughout the memoir, we are introduced the mom, brother, sister, and the main character Gary but we never find out where the dad is or if he is in the picture. Gary lives in a latino household and is surrounded by a latino community, so when he begins watching a show that illustrates a perfect family he wonders why he has yet to experience that or even witness it in his community. “This was the summer when I spent the mornings in front of the the relevison that showed the comfortable lives of white kids. There were no beatings, no rifts in the family.” (Soto, 22) Gary is remembering the time that we was having dinner with his family after witnessing Little John get hit by his mom. He is asking his mom when can they eat turtle soup and get dressed up for dinner, which are all ideas that he got from the shows he would see on T.V. By Gary at nine years old realizing that his family is not what he sees on T.V it shows that his family is far from being a nuclear family. “I decided to become wealthy and right away! After downing a bowl of cereal, I took a rake from the garage and started up the block to look for work.”(Soto, 20). Gary is getting ready for his typical summer day, which consisted of eating beans and tortillas for breakfast, watching fights, and going to the pool when he suddenly got the idea to work. By Gary only being nine years old and already looking for work to provide money during the summer when he should be out having fun, it shows that he does not live in a traditional family where the parents provide the money, it also shows that if he begins to get money he will be a step closer in getting his family to be the family he sees on the T.V. Although Gary and his family are far from the nuclear family, it does not deny the fact that his family has a strong relationship and strong family ties. When Gary collected his money that day from working, the first person he spent it on was his sister, although the money was supposed to towards becoming richer he rather have given the money to his sister who was in more need of it. ” But Rick mimmed me and the same day that I asked him to wear shoes to dinner he came to the table dinner in only his swim trunks” (Soto, 20). When Gary first got the idea to become the family he sees on tv, he first noticed how they would dress up and look decent for dinner and wanted the same for his family and figured he would start with that. Gary knew he would not get them to come dressed up but he at least wanted them to wear their shoes to dinner. The day he he asked his brother to come with shoes to the table he rebelled and only wore swimming shorts. By the brother mimicking him it shows that they have a relationship where they can joke around and find things like that very funny, that night they all wore bathing suits which also shows the goofy relationship they share with one another.
In the short story “An Indian Story” by Roger Jack, we are introduced to the main character Roger, his Aunt Greta, and his father. We immediately learn that when Roger was a little kid his mom passed away, which means we have been introduced to another nontraditional family. For a while he lives with his father up until he gets remarried and runs away to live with his Aunt Greta due to the fights he would have with his step brother. Since that day Aunt Greta steps up and decides to take on the role of his mother figure. Which shows the strong family ties in this family. “My mom died when I was little. Dad took care of me as best he ‘could after that. He worked hard and earned good money as an accountant at the agency. But about a year after Mom died he married a half-breed Indian and this made me feel very uncomfortable” (Jack 53). After the mom passed away the dad took on the role of being a single father as best as he could up until he got remarried. This shows an example of them being a non traditional family since the dad is a single father and is always working never really being able to see his son, and once he gets a new wife he creates a blended family. “I ran away from home one day when everyone was gone – actually, I walked to Aunt Greta’s and asked if I could move in with her since I had already spent so much time with her anyway” (Jack 54). After the dad got married and brought along a stepson who did not get along too well with Roger, he decided to run away to his Aunt Greta where he decided to stay and live with. By Roger running away to his aunt due to the fact that he already spent so much time with her, it shows the trust he had in her to be able to run away and know he had somewhere to stay and it shows the strong family ties in the family. “Aunt Greta and I went on vacations’ together from the time I graduated from the eighth grade. We were trailblazers, she said, because our ancestors never traveled very far frat the homeland” (Jack, 54). During road trips and vacations with people, you spend a lot of time with each other and you end up learning a lot about them and get very close to that person. Roger and Aunt Greta went on many trips together which demonstrates how close they had gotten over the years.
After reading both Looking For Work and An Indian Story, it is more than clear that An Indian Story best illustrates Gretel’s and Sarkisian’s claim that unconventional families can have supportive relationships and strong family ties all while being a nontraditional family. Gretel and Sarkisian make the point that nontraditional families will take care of extended family, which was clearly seen throughout An Indian Story. Roger Jack first states that he has lost his mom, which automatically makes the dad a single parent which leads them to become a nontraditional family. We later learn how Aunt Greta takes him in and begins to raise him as her very own son. However, before even taking him in we also learn that Greta was taking care of her sick father, which was mentioned by Grestel and Sarkisian that children later take on the job to take care of their parents.
After analyzing Looking For Work and An Indian Story, we get a better idea of what other families look like rather than reading about the same old ideal family. Both stories introduce us to nontraditional families, and even though they are both non traditional, they are both are very different families, however something that they share in common is the way that they have supportive relationships and strong family ties. These two nontraditional families show how supportive relationships and very strong family ties goes along way rather than having a nuclear family, it also shows that you do not need to have a perfect ideal family as seen on T.V in order to have what is considered an organized family, a nuclear family is not the only kind of family that exist and the more it is realized the more these nontraditional families will be considered a normal family.