"The Color of Family Ties" by Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarksian

Categories: Family

In the essay "The Color of Family Ties" by Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarksian, the authors assert that traditional nuclear families are not the only ones capable of supportive relationships and strong family connections. In the other hand, minority families also discover that their families illustrate the most supportive relationships and strongest family ties. According to Gerstel and Sarksian, they states "Black and Latino/a, especially Puerto Rican families are more disorganized than White families, and that their families ties are weaker" (47).

People usually believe Black and Latino/a are weaker and more disorganized than Whites.

But the authors also point out "Minority individuals are more likely to live in extended family homes than Whites and in many ways more likely to help out their aging parents, grandparents, adult children, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, and other skin" (48). In my opinion, I agree with this statement and I believe untraditional families are more likely to live with extended family than Whites.

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In "An Indian Story" by Roger Jack, it talks about nontraditional families with supportive relationships and strong family ties, which is a good example to describe of minority.

In "An Indian Story" by Roger Jack is an example of family solidarity and care giving within a minority family. When Jack was just a young boy, his mother died, then his father remarried and started a new family that made the boy uncomfortable with his living situation. After that, he decided to go living with his late mother's sister, Aunt Greta.

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It is an evident that even before he decided to move with Greta, Jack was very close to her when he stated, "I walked to Aunt Greta's house and asked if I could move in with her since I had already spend so much time with her anyway"(53). This is our first example of the strong ties to extended family in this story. As the story progresses we learn that Greta has sacrificed not only for her nephew but for her father as well.

Greta had been married for a long time but her husband just died five years into their marriage. The reason why Greta and her husband never had any children and she never remarried was because 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 was also evident that the two share a close relationship. The author states, "She [Greta] had so much love and knowledge to share, which she passed on to me naturally and freely" (53). Hence, tradition was very important to Greta's family as well as their Indian culture and Greta shared it with Jack. During the years, Jack and his aunt form an even stronger bond and she became a mother to him as they shared many adventures together.

In "Looking for Work" by Gary Soto, Soto wishes his family were more like families portrayed on television. In his opinion, families portrayed on T.V. seem to be "perfect" and "normal". These families seem to be proper and get along well with one another. Since this is what television shows families to be like, he believes this is ideal. If he is able to get money and have a better setup for his family, he believes that this will make them get along and make them happier.

Soto also mention that, "mimicked me the same day that I asked him to wear shoes...he came to the dinner table in only his swim trunks" (22). It shows that he has a good relationship between he and his brother. His family may not be dressed up or have as nice of a house as he desires, but they can enjoy one another's company. The boy does not realize this at first, but at the end of the story he understands that no family is perfect but they are still a united family with strong emotional ties. The boy finally realizes that he is lucky to have a loving and supportive. Happiness can be achieved without being exactly like a white family.

In this essay, the two nontraditional families show the supportive relationship and strongest family ties. In addition, both of these writings help to form new ideas about untraditional or minority families teaching that nuclear families are not the only type of family that should be respected or considered when it comes to analyzing the closeness and supportiveness of families. Both are the great example of nontraditional families. It shows that the connections between "An Indian Story" and "Looking for Work".

Works Cited

Soto, Gary. "Looking for Work." Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. By Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. 49-51. Print.

Gerstel, Naomi, and Natalia Sarkisian. "The Color of Family Ties: Race, Class, Gender, and Extended Family Involvement." Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Ed. Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. 61-68. Print.

Jack, Roger. "An Indian Story." Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. Ed. Gary Colombo, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. 52-60. Print.

Family Ties and Loyalty in "Antigone" by Sophocles

The ancient play Antigone by author Sophocles explores the depths of family ties and loyalty, delving into how family bonds can influence characters to either obey or disobey the state. The state, in other words, is known as the composite whole of a city, but can be commonly associated with the unyielding power or even corruption of its leader. Specifically, the relationship between Antigone and sister Ismene as well as between Creon and son Haimon demonstrate the clash between familial dedication and personal interests of the state. Loyalty, however, means different things to the characters: for Antigone, it means unending devotion to her family, whereas to Creon it means being devoted his family in the interest of maintained power. In essence, family acts as a pillar of loyalty in both relationships, but motivates them to either defy the state, or to maintain control of the state. These ideas collectively suggest that the law– be it “divine” or “regal”–ultimately takes precedence over family. To begin, family acts as a source of loyalty within Antigone and Ismene’s relationship which, in turn, acts as a driving motive for Antigone to defy the state.

Antigone’s enduring bond with her family is so strong that she expects her sister Ismene to mirror the extent of her familial loyalty. After hearing about Creon’s decree to deny burial to their brother Polyneices (and to punish any who breaks his edict), Antigone confronts Ismene with a radical statement and testament of her dedication. After explaining the situation to Ismene, she proclaims, “There it is, and now you can prove what you are: A true sister, or a traitor to your family” (Prologue, 27-28). Here, Antigone’s loyalty to her family is so extreme that she would consider her sister a “traitor to [her] family” if she does not risk her life for her brother. Looking deeper, Antigone confronts her sister using a demanding tone, as revealed by phrases like “there it is” and “prove what you are”, which comes off as stringent and harsh. Sophocles’ use of a colon (followed by said two options) add a rigidness to the pace of the play, focusing the reader’s attention on Antigone’s stark confrontation. This makes it seems as though Ismene’s only choices are either a near-certain death or becoming a traitor to her own family.

This pattern continues when Ismene fearfully replies, “I must yield to those in authority”, only to have Antigone quickly snap, “I will bury [Polyneices]; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy: I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as he to me…you may do as you like, since apparently the laws of the gods mean nothing to you” (Prologue, 51-65). Notably, Antigone appeals to the notion of guilt in order to make her argument more compelling when claiming that “the laws of the gods mean nothing” to Ismene. This demonstrates the clash between the two, as Antigone’s dedication to her family reaches far beyond the constructs of the state while Ismene’s halts when “those in authority” stand in the way. In this way, Ismene’s commitment to the state tests Antigone’s loyalty to her brother, but is ultimately not enough to stop her from defying Creon’s edict in what she considers a “crime [that] is holy”. Clearly, family plays the role of a pillar of loyalty that fuels Antigone to defy the state in the sake of her late brother; in the end, even her sister’s fear of dissent cannot stop it. Next, when considering the relationship between Creon and Haimon, familial loyalty motivates Creon to maintain power over the state.

To Creon, his idea of being a father and a leader have merged into one identity; in the same way, Haimon’s idea of being a son and a subject of the state have also merged together. This is most prominent when Haimon says to Creon, “I am your son, father. You are my guide. You make things clear for me, and I obey you”, and Creon responds, “Good. That is the way to behave: subordinate everything else, my son, to your father’s will” (Scene 3, 9-13). The interaction here seems quite rigid and forced, especially when hearing such spelled out phrases like “I am your son”, “you are my guide”, “I obey you”, and “my son”. One might argue that it almost sounds more like a talk between a leader and subject, rather than a conversation between father and son. Further, this relationship– bordered on the line between formal and familial– translates into Creon’s drive to keep control over the state. After catching Antigone breaking the law, Creon believes that going back on his edict and lessening Antigone’s sentence will not only make him appear to be favoring a family member, but also threaten his respect and authority as a newer king.

The pressure of this decision and the presence of his family (specifically Haimon’s) acts as a constant reminder to Creon of why he cannot lose power to the throne. He inherently fears that he will be “show[n] weak before the people” and his direct family; besides that, he might appear incapable to remain steadfast during conflict (Scene 3, 28). Creon even acknowledges that he “supposes [Antigone]’ll plead family ties. Well, let her. If I permit my own family to rebel, how shall I earn the world’s obedience?” (Scene 3, 31-34). Some might argue that this passage shows that Creon is not loyal to his family, meaning his niece Antigone, because he still sentences her to death despite “family ties”. However, just because Creon might not extend his loyalty to his nieces and nephew, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he does not act out of loyalty for his immediate family. Take Haimon, for example: The very fact that Creon confides in him about “earn[ing] the world’s obedience” by killing his niece emphasizes how he sees his son as a political confidant and worthy of his trust.

That is why family acts as a pillar of loyalty, prompting Creon to keep control over the state; the political presence of his family is such a constant pressure, it has even changed how he interacts with his own son. To analyze further, the relationship between Antigone and Ismene compared to that of Creon and Haimon share some similarities and differences. Antigone confides in Ismene by using a demanding tone, just as Creon confides in Haimon. Also, Antigone’s headstrong and forward attitude mirrors Creon’s; interestingly enough, both have an unyielding nature that derives from their loyalty to their family. Despite these similarities, in the end, Ismene actually supports Antigone’s case and remains loyal to her sister. She says, “I am here to join you, to take my share of the punishment… I want to die with you: I too have a duty that I must discharge to the dead” (Scene 2, 150-154). The mere fact that Ismene considers it her “duty” to join Antigone demonstrates that she now sees familial loyalty as an obligation, not a choice. On the other hand, Haimon turns his back on his father by committing suicide, rather than considering it his responsibility to stand by his father’s side (which, notably, contradicts his former declaration of “I obey you”).

Sophocles includes this moment of defiance when writing, “And now he lies dead with the dead, and [Antigone] is his at last, his bride in the houses of the dead” (Exodus, 83-84). All in all, family may act as source of loyalty, but both relationships differ in how that motivates them. Given these points, it appears that no matter how important family loyalty is, the law ultimately takes precedence. Within the context of the play, Antigone’s defiance is mostly fueled by her dedication to the divine law, rather than solely her loyalty to her brother. She even uses this as her justification to Ismene for breaking the state’s law when she said “apparently the laws of the gods mean nothing to you” (Prologue, 65). This idea continues after Ismene later changes her mind, only to have Antigone turn a cold shoulder: “The dead man and the gods who rule the dead know whose act this was” (Scene 2, 153-154).

In other words, Antigone cares more about being valued in the eyes of the divine law more than her sister showing loyalty to her family. As for Creon, the law of the state takes precedence over Antigone which is apparent when he tells Haimon, “We keep the laws then, and the lawmakers, and no woman shall seduce us” (Scene 3, 49-50). Essentially, he would rather allow his niece to die than to change the “laws” and “lawmakers” of the state, as this would ultimately preserve his position as king. In reality, the politics that comes along with laws have the power to break apart families. Opposing political views within families can easily cause the pillar of loyalty to crumble because for most people, one’s view of the law does take precedence over family ties, especially when considering the modern political world we live in.

Family Ties

"Lispector’s writing can often be interpreted as symbolic, yet it is at the same time highly sophisticated and original. Discuss a particular pattern in her imagery or symbolism and its effect on the reader."

Often authors write with symbolism to communicate a deeper idea then what they what is presented. Symbolism opens doors for readers to have the freedom of going in to find meaning. Most of the time they use objects, actions and characters to offer the readers more meaning for the story. Symbolism helps each reader to connect in their on personal way. Clarice Lispector, author of Family Ties, has a very unique path for usage of symbolism and imagery. It can be proven that Lispector uses animals to show her emotion, however she indirectly places it for the readers to open the door and search for the meaning. In the some of the short stories it can be concluded that the use of animals are to show her emotion but also play the role of presenting the everyday life struggle lesson being taught. Symbols are used almost everyday, even when it is not known to all.

They can be used in to give readers a more enjoyable experience. Lispector takes her time to describe the setting and the animal presented, to create a visual picture in the readers mind. In the story The Chicken, it was simply only a chicken, without hopes or dreams, unaware of it’s destiny or capability and Sunday’s lunch main dish. In a rare instinctive spasm, it decides to escape flying over the fence. Now lunch-less the family starts to chase the direction-less bird. When the chicken gets caught there is still hope that it will live due do it laying an egg in the kitchen. Lispector takes such an simple story and turns it into a story with s significant symbol such as the chicken, to carry the emotion and keep it orignal. “Alone in the world, without father or mother, she ran, out of breath, concentrated, mute. Sometimes in her flight she would stand at bay on the edge of a roof, gasping; while the young man leaped over others with difficulty, she had a moment in which to collect herself. The she looked so free.” (Lispector, 50)

In the above quotation it proves to readers that the chicken is in a life of loneliness and sadness. “Alone in the world” phrase catches the readers attention to feel sympathic but quickly changes to “free” where they feel happy and joy for the chicken. Lispector does this to keep it interesting and effective for the reader to follow along. In the last sentence of The chicken, Lispector says; “ Until one day they killed her and ate her, and the years rolled on.” (52). The readers are then defeated in making an effort to solve a myth, because Lispector suggests that there is, after all, no meaning to this chicken's life, and hence no meaning to our own.

The buffalo is appreiated for its main character and her complex feelings, an undistinguished women who is regretting her past because of a preivous break up. Lispector choses a springtime afternoon in a zoo to settle her resentment. Nowhere in the search at the zoo of life among the lions, giraffe, hippopotamus, monkeys, ape, elephant, camel, and coati could she find hatred or anger. In fact, she finds it easier to love and to be compassionate than to hate. This roller coster of emotions in the story starts with a women who has a struggle but overcomes it with the happy emotion of each animal. “I love you, she said, out of hatred then for the men whose great and unpunishable rime was not loving, “I hate you, she said imploring love from the buffalo.” (156) Lispector in this quotation shows the overcoming of hatred of men as she see’s that men can be innocent. The women soon becomes eye locked with the buffalo as she learns to love again. She has felt a lot of sentiments but never hatred of man until she meets the huge, black, hairy buffalo, whose eyes reflect back "mutual assassination." How she responds to this recognition is quite interesting. The buffalo has the effect on the reader that emotions can be changed based on trust and that being jugdemental and grouping something together isnt going to help anything. Once again she proves a lesson with the use of animals and emotion.

In conclusion, Lispector does use the method of animal imagery and emotion to help build her stories with meaning and excitment. Rather than the author just clearly stating thoughts, it is much more effiecent and allows the
author to draw more attention by adding symbolic meaning, however Lispector’s stories are still orignal with complications. Each short story including the use of animals to convery thoughts has an effect on the reader.

Ideal family



The institution of family is a basic unit in the society, and the multi functions performed by it make it a much-needed institution in a society. Some of the important functions performed by the family include reproduction of new members and socializing them, and provision of emotional and physical care for older persons and young. Family in fact, is an institution which resolves or eases a large number of social problems.

The term family had been defined by various sociologists and anthropologists. Peter Murdock, after studying over 250 multi-cultural societies defines family as a “social group characterized by common residence, economic co-operation and reproduction.

Interconnectedness of individuals in family relationships through bonds of affection and/or obligation leads to joint decision making, budget – pooling, cooperative work roles and noble parenting within a framework of culturally accepted notions about the division of rights and responsibilities by sex and generational position.

There are two main family types introduced by the sociologists. One is the nuclear family, which consists of two elders and their children. It is often referred to as the “immediate family”. Extended family is the other type. It consists of an old system of family performances with the close connections of two or three generations of relations, such as grandparents, husbands of sisters and wives of brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

According to Adoms, as families move from being extended to being more isolated, nuclear and privatized the relationship between wives and husbands tend to become more equal, with both partners working and sharing household tasks. Such a family is defined as “the symmetrical family”.

From this, I have decided to research on IDEAL FAMILY to present what are the trends in having a family.

Statement of the Problem

The main purpose of this research is to present the plans of the students in having a family of their own along with its responsibilities.

Specifically it aims to:

Deciding the size of the family varies to its responsibilities. Creating a family corresponds to sacrifices in aspect of their careers. By looking forward – years from now – expect them to having a happy family they want to create. Scope and Delimitation

This research covers most are undergraduates of the University of the East. Sixty students will be sharing their opinions and future decisions in starting a family.

Significance of the Research

The research tries to help the following:

The students perceive more of their future about having a family and its responsibilities because it will aspire them to their current situation as a student and for their future. The University of the East - Caloocan achieves one of their main objectives to produce reliable and responsible individual in the future. The professors nourish and enrich their students with values and aspirations on moving forward and every step to take must be anticipated.


Strengthening Fragile Families

The rise of fragile families—families that begin when a child is born outside of marriage—is one of the nation’s most vexing social problems. In the first place, these families suffer high poverty rates and poor child outcomes. Even more problematic, the very groups of Americans who traditionally experience poverty, impaired child development, and poor school achievement have the highest rates of non-marital parenthood—thus intensifying the disadvantages faced by these families and extending them into the next generation.

Economic Mobility of Families across Generations

The study presents that “Doing better" than one's parents has long been a key element of the American Dream. Not only can people earn more, but they can move up the ladder compared to others. The story, embedded in our history and our literature, suggests any person can start from humble beginnings and achieves great wealth, or at least reach the middle class. But how are Americans doing today? Are they better off than their own parents were and how much does their eventual success depend on their family background? These questions are answered in this study.

Parents working out work

For families with children, the employment of parents is vital to address the wellbeing of family members. Increasingly, when we consider parental employment, it is not only fathers' employment that is of concern, but also mothers'. How parents work out work applies both to those families with two parents in the workforce and those with a single parent working.

This facts sheet presents statistical information about trends in parents' engagement in paid work, examining mothers' and fathers' employment patterns. We provide detailed information about jobless families. Further, the ways in which families manage their work and care responsibilities is analysed, through presentation of statistics on their use of child care, paid parental and other leave, and other working arrangements.

Family working together: getting the Balance right

The National Families Week theme for 2013 draws attention to the sometimes difficult task of achieving balance in our lives. Achieving balance can be helped by working together in our immediate and extended families, as well as with friends, neighbours and the wider community.

One of the pressing challenges today is finding the balance between the hours spent in paid work and the time spent with family and friends, in community activities, and looking after our own health and wellbeing. This facts sheet highlights some of the ways in which such time commitments vary over the life course, and how families manage these and other competing demands on their time.

Families make all the difference: helping kids to grow and learn

This Facts Sheet has been prepared for the 2012 National Families Week, with this year's theme being "Families make all the difference: Helping kids to grow and learn". It provides a range of information on ways in which families nurture and support children's physical, learning and social emotional development.

Helping children to grow and learn occurs within families in very many ways, from providing a safe and nurturing home environment, through being involved in children's learning activities at school, home and elsewhere, and giving children the input and direction they need to grow up with the social and emotional capabilities to tackle everyday life. We will explore this here by looking at children's physical, learning and social-emotional development


Research setting and respondents

The respondents of this study are undergraduates of the University of the
East. There are sixty respondents included in the study.

Research method

The researchers used the descriptive method that is design for the researchers to gather information about presenting existing condition. Therefore, it defines as collection of data in order to test hypothesis or to answer questions concerning the status of the subject of the study. The researchers make a survey questionnaire as instrument to gather information needed among the respondents.

Data gathering instrument

There are one-page survey questionnaire composed with ten questions regarding to the information needed to the study. The questions that gather information about the opinions and expectations in having a family. Family life includes the size, authority, residence, and responsibility. It’s more on an expectations or reference in seeing their life in near future.

Data gathering and procedure

The researchers formulate questions for the survey questionnaires for the answers needed in the study. The survey questionnaires are hand out to the respondents. Then, the respondents answer the survey questionnaires related to their opinion, knowledge, and future references. The survey questionnaires will be collect for the preparation of the analysis and results.


Quantitative Result

The researchers tabulate the data gathered and present the results in graphical form. The respondents’ answers shown in the following figures each
have their own interpretation and analysis.

Figure 1. Number of respondents planning on having a family

From Figure 1, 60 of the respondents plan on having a family said yes and no one said no.

Figure 2. Age on having a family

From Figure 2, 33 of the respondents said they plan to have a family at age of 20-24 years old, 18 said at age of 25-29 years old, 7 said at age of 30-34 years old, 2 said at age of 35-39 years old, and no one said at age of 40 years old and above.

Figure 3. Number of respondents planning on the number of child/children

From Figure 3, 15 of the respondents said they plan to have one child, 27 said two children, 11 said three children, 5 said four children, and 2 said five or more children, and no one said they do not plan to have a child.

Figure 4. Numbers of respondents are aware of the responsibilities in having children

From Figure 4, 60 of the respondents said yes for their awareness of responsibility in having children and no one said no.

Figure 5. Location of the residence of their family

From Figure 5, 48 of the respondents said they will have their own house for their own family, and 12 said they will reside to their family residence.
Figure 6. Head of the household

From Figure 6, 32 of the respondents the father will be the head of the household, 7 said the mother, and 21 said both.

Figure 7. Number of respondents giving up their career

From Figure 7, 45 of the respondents said yes to give up their career in taking care of their family, and 15 said no.

Figure 8. Comparing the current family to their ideal family

From Figure 8, 43 of the respondents said yes to the similarity of their current family to their ideal family, and 17 said no.

Figure 9. Factor that triggers the most in having a family

From Figure 9, 18 of the respondents said their age triggers in having a family, 21 said marriage, 15 said stable careers or job, and 6 said other factors.

Figure 10. Number of respondents in pursuing their ideal family

From Figure 10, 60 of the respondents said yes in pursuing their ideal family, and no one said no.

Qualitative Result

The researchers analyze the answers of the respondents with accordance to their stated opinions and majority of their answers are related and resulted below.

In terms of being the head of the household, it is still in practice that the dominant, which is the man, will be the head of the household. However, the as years go by people change along with their practices that woman gain their status as equal of man. Therefore, equality of authority inside the household is in practice although it only follows to the old tradition.

In giving up their career, most of the respondents said yes, because they want to be hands-on in taking care of their children and to forge stronger bonds of their family. However, those people who said no, they think about on financial terms to support their family needs and stability.

In having their ideal family different from their inborn family, due to their family structure of having illegitimate kin, separated parents or no bonds formed at all. Their experiences influence their decisions in their ideal family.


Summary of findings

The research study clearly observed that almost all of the students in the University of the East plan on having a family of their own. Most of the respondents are planning on having their own family at their 20’s. Also, all of them are aware of it’s almost a lifetime responsibility and they are preparing to attain such desirable future.

Based on family size, most of the respondents plan to have a small family mainly composed of one or two offspring. In a matter of authority in the household, it’s divided into two opinions: the father being the head is the majority followed by being equal of authority both of the mother and the father. Based on the residence most of them plan to have their own home to reside their family to start anew.


Based on the findings, the researchers conclude the following:

The students of the University of the East-Caloocan have plans in having a family life. The students are planning their career to gain stability after graduation. In gaining stability triggers to be married and then a family. Family meaning settling down and forging bonds and fulfillment as a person.

In addition, all of them want to have their own children. Because having an offspring is the form of stronger connection and completes the family as a whole.


http://undesadspd.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=LJsVbHQC7Ss%3D&tabid=282 http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2007/11/generations-isaacs http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2010/10/27-fragile-families-foc http://www.ehow.com/facts_5287046_objectives-family-planning.html http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/factssheets/

Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Cite this page

"The Color of Family Ties" by Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarksian. (2016, Aug 08). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-color-of-family-ties-by-naomi-gerstel-and-natalia-sarksian-essay

"The Color of Family Ties" by Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarksian essay
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