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Family Analysis

FIRST NOVEL= Ordinary People by Judith Guest

•SECOND NOVEL= The Kite Runner by Hosseine Khaled

•THIRD NOVEL = What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? by Peter Hedge

•FOURTH NOVEL= 5 pages Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacob

•LAST NOVEL= 5 pages The Whale Rider by Ihimaera Witi

Novel assignments: Basically, there are 5 (3 page) reactions papers.

Each analysis /reaction paper will be based on the guiding questions, which you will find BELOW, All reaction papers can address any of the questions that I provided.

As you are reading, keep the following questions in mind. There are questions which only apply to particular novels; whereas, there are questions which apply to all the novels. Feel free to add questions that you feel may be relevant for fruitful discussion or writing assignments. Please note that some questions are repeated using different phraseology to approach a response from a different angle. These questions attempt to explore families from a cross-disciplinary point of reference.

Family Analysis

For Psychological Consideration….

  1. Are there alliances within the family? How do these alliances affect family functioning?
  2. How would you rate the communication patterns within this family?
  3. What are the spoken or unspoken rules (conscious—unconscious) for each family?
  4. How do these rules shape behavior or interactions between family members?
  5. Discuss how personality differences play a part in family dynamics, or character conflict?
  6. How do parental roles become refined by situation or by the progression of time?
  7. Selective memory: how is it possible that 2 or 3 family members witness the same event, they will have completely different versions of that event?
  8. How do characters, family members, remain resilient in the face of devastating events, or severe or acute trauma?
  9. Why are some family members more resilient than others?
  10. How does sibling position shape or influence behavior?
  11. How does developmental stage affect behavior?
  12. Why is sexuality often a vehicle whereby characters work out their loneliness?

For Sociological Consideration…

  1. How does social structure, or societal expectation shape family?
  2. How does culture define identity?
  3. How does cultural difference necessitate conflict?
  4. Americans value individualism and emphasize personal achievement, individual rights, and their own space. How do these values influence the structure of the American family? What are some of the negative results of these values?
  5. How do grandparents fill the parental role in particular families?
  6. Is it possible to pass on dysfunctional behavior patterns from one generation to another?
  7. How do gender issues play out in certain families?
  8. Who holds the most power in family-males, females?
  9. How does this dynamic work itself out in subsequent relationships, outside of the family?
  10. How do families relax together; how do they spend leisure time?

For Philosophical /Theological /Existential Consideration…

  1. How does the family respond to tragic events, loss, accidents, injustices?
  2. Is Forgiveness possible in families? How crucial is it?
  3. How does faith /belief in higher truths, or the lack of, play a part in these families?
  4. What is love?
  5. Does tragedy serve to strengthen or weaken family?
  6. What do families use as coping mechanisms?—this can be taken in different directions by each novel.
  7. How does history shape a family’s destiny?
  8. How do cultural beliefs, values and attitudes shape conflict or cohesiveness within a family?

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