Differences in Traditional Families in Gary Soto’s Works

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

There has always been ideas revolving around traditional families and how they should be. The reality is that there is a stigma on what a typical “ traditional family” looks like, which discourages many to move away from the idea of having a picture perfect family. Every family has its own unique ups and downs and it’s important to discuss why. The media, modern culture, and marriage stereotypes can highly influence one’s thoughts about what the structure of a typical family is.

Many families grow up believing that a full family involves a mother and father where they will be raised in a “nice house” and a “nice community.’ However, the media most often exaggerates this image of what a perfect family is or distort it. According to Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian who wrote The Color of Family Ties: Race, Class, Gender, and extended family Involvement, they state, “When talking about family obligations and solidarities, politicians and social commentators typically focus on the ties between married couples and their children. We often hear that Black and latino/a, especially Puerto Rican, families are more organized than white families, and their family ties are weaker; because rates of non-marriage and single parenthood at higher among this minority groups.” (P 31) This proves that media can highly influence one’s ideas on family figures because of the fact that maybe other figures may speak down upon certain family images that they may not be aware of. Media tends to label poor countries or areas within a specific region as dysfunctional creating stereotypes that many may take with them along the way. This is important to keep in mind because it’s healthy for families to have obstacles in order to learn and grow.

Marriage stereotypes have been around for many years. It has always been seen that females tend the house and the family while the husband works and financially provides. Author of What We really Miss About The 1950’s by Stephanie Coontz, expresses, “Women who had worked during the Depression or WWII quit their jobs as soon as they became pregnant, which means quite a few women were specializing in child raising…” Women were persuaded to tend children only because of the fact that they have the ability to become pregnant, but not every woman knows how to care for children or wants to. Today, we are seeing more single mothers or females who simply don’t want a family yet. This is especially true since the idea of marriage stereotypes has been embedded in them through factors such as their grandparents or parents. This has become a core belief that marriage is a must, thus creating the idea of a rushed family that may possibly allow for the family to grow up dysfunctional. Although every culture has its similarities for what a complete family looks like, for example, involving a mother, father and kids. Culture can greatly differentiate the way they raise them and how they interact with them as well. In an article called Looking For Work by Gary Soto, he describes a particular childhood moment in his life that made him realize how growing up in a hispanic community was way different than other families. On TV, he watched a program called Leave it to Beaver in which he witnessed what he thought the perfect wealthy family was like. Soto quotes, “They wore bright clothes; toys tumbled from their closets. They hopped into bed with kisses and walk to glasses of fresh orange juice, and to a father sitting before his morning coffee while the mother buttered his toast. They hurried through the day making friends and gobs of money, returning home to a warmly lit living room, and then dinner.” (Soto 25) Watching this became a highlight in Soto’s life because he felt that his family life did not meet his expectations due to the fact that he would compare his own situation to a completely different culture that was not his. The way he stereotyped a perfect family in his mind damaged his life growing up and became unappreciative.

The idea of perfect families is known to be non-existent. Families have their own issues and beliefs and that is what makes them powerful. Although the media, modern culture, and marriage stereotypes cane can highly influence this idea of a perfect family, it is important to understand what truly makes ones family unique, which is what they go through together. Traditional families aren’t real, however this doesn’t mean that families can’t work things out to become closer.


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