Family plays a key role in all societies and cultures, and happiness is the direct result of the love within a family. The text discussed in the family theme has portrayed examples of both happy and very unhappy families. Three pieces of literature that discuss themes pertaining to the happiness and well-being of a family are Daddy, Sonny’s Blues, and On Going Home. While some of the themes raised in these works such as forgiveness and unconditional love are vital in order for families to be happy, themes involving change and loss are most certainly not necessary in contributing to a family’s happiness.
The short poem Daddy by Sylvia Plath illustrates how important it is for a child to have a relationship with his or her father. The main theme in this poem is loss of a loved one. Here, Sylvia Plath is clearly the speaker in this poem. She is very depressed and is angry that her father died and she blames him for leaving her. People who have experienced a traumatic childhood by losing a parent often grow up to blame the one who is dead. This loss is not necessary for the happiness of a family because of all the apparent grief that it brings.
For a family to be happy there must be strong relationships between the child and the parents. The bond between a parent and a child is the most important relationship in one’s life and can make the heaviest impact on the happiness of the family. Parents are there to teach and give guidance to the child throughout his or her life and represent the ultimate example of what a relationship should be. For Plath, losing her father at the age of ten was incredibly treacherous because she was very close to him as a young child. Also, because of losing her father, she became seriously depressed and tried to commit suicide at the age of twenty. Plath did not have her father in her life to explain how she was supposed to interact with men. When her father died she did not know how to build a relationship with a man and essentially married a man who cheated and betrayed her. This theme of loss and despair is emphasized in Daddy and shows how happiness is lost in a family when a child does not have that strong connection with the parent.
Next, the remarkable theme of unconditional love is demonstrated in Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin. In this short piece of fiction, the speaker is an African American who has assimilated into a predominantly white culture, but whose younger brother, Sonny, seems to not be able to fight his way through the despair. In this text, the speaker becomes a “street preacher” and speaks to his brother’s friend about Sonny who has recently been arrested for drugs. Here, although the speaker does not approve of Sonny’s lifestyle. He is encouraged by his mother and driven by unconditional love to reach out to his brother and bring him back into the family in order to restore their relationship with each other and in the end become a much happier family.
Unconditional love is very important in...