Families in literature

Jun 2014
Families in literature
Whatever type of novel you like, there are interesting families in many of them

Families come in all shapes and sizes. You might consider your friends as extensions of your immediate family because of the close relationship you have with them.

We thought we'd have a look at some great families in literature, many of these well-known families take surprising form!

Roald Dahl's Bucket Family in Charlie and the Chocolate factory absolutely deserve a mention and they immediately spring to mind. The image of Grandpa Joe, Grandma Josephine, Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina huddled together in the one bed in Charlie's ramshackle house is bitter sweet. Charlie's relationship with Grandpa Joe holds the heart of the whole story. The family might be poor and struggling to live, but the love that binds them together is what really keeps the house from falling down around their ears.

Little Women's March family is filled with love and support. The absence of Mr March brings the women closer if anything, as they rally together to overcome each challenge they face. Set in the midst of civil war, the family falls on hard times. Faced with poverty, illness and heart-break, somehow this family manages to remain resilient.

Peter Pan's lost boys are a kind of family too; united by their fate as 'lost' children, they band together and have forged individual roles and when united are a force to be reckoned with. Peter has become a kind of father figure in the group, and the picture is completed with the arrival of Wendy who can take on the role of 'mother'; in the way they vaguely recall a mother to be.

One of our most loved families is a little less obvious: Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga and Roo. Now this is a family everyone should want to be part of. We have the contemplative Pooh, enthusiastic Tigger, melancholy Eeyore, sensible Kanga and inquisitive Roo who together go on all kinds of adventures. Christopher Robin's toys make for a very entertaining family indeed!

Found in the higher levels of the Kumon English Programme, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice brings a more traditional kind of family. However, though they may appear enviable from the outside, the novel follows heroine Elizabeth Bennet as she struggles with issues of manners, upbringing, morality and marriage amongst the English landed gentry. One of five daughters, her family is large by modern standards, and each member is troublesome and certainly flawed! Mrs Bennet is lacking in social graces, ambitious, prone to attacks of the vapors and only concerned with finding her daughters suitable husbands. Sister Lydia is flirtatious and unrestrained, leading Kitty astray. Mary is studious but lacking in taste. The shining light in the group is the eldest sister Jane who is both kind and beautiful. Elizabeth herself is witty but sarcastic, much like her father. Much of the drama in the novel takes place because of each of these traits.

Whatever type of novel you like, there are interesting families in many of them. From Thomas the Tank Engine and his band of railway brothers to the family of animals in Charlotte's Web.