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The Three Weissmanns of Westport
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Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

Created: 08/11/11

Replies: 15

Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 444

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Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

Betty, Miranda, and Annie are thrown back into their traditional family roles (mother to child; sister to sister) after Joseph announces his plans for divorce and the three women move to Westport. Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role? Is it possible for Miranda, Annie, and Betty? How are the characters hindered and/or allowed to grow as a result of being forced back into these positions?


Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
neilw

Join Date: 07/27/11

Posts: 2

RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

Yes -- but I think it is very difficult when you return to the nuclear family to live. In this book, I suspect that all three women were handicapped to a degree by coming back together later in life,


Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
annettes

Join Date: 04/15/11

Posts: 9

RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

Yes it is definitely possible to outgrow your family role. As the youngest of three girls, whenever we were reunited I felt that I was still looked on as the "baby" even though I had a successful professional career. At times I resented this, but to keep the "peace" did not say anything.


Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 29

RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I do not think you ever outgrow your place in the family dynamics. Your mother is always going to tell you what to do, and it is intimidating to try to talk with your mother as a peer. Your place in the sibling order stays the same, thus the take charge one or baby one remains. The line "you can choose your friends but not your relatives" is so true; you just adjust to maintain your equilibrium.


Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gwendolyndawson

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 63

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RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I think I agree with joycew on this one. Although we all grow older, our relationships within the family remain fixed--i.e., your mother will always be your mother no matter how old you get and even after you might be a mother/father yourself. When I am around my family, those engrained relationships definitely come into play. Although I relate to my mother differently now than I did when I was a dependent child, she is still my mother and will never be just another female adult. The same is true for my sister.


Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 121

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RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I agree with joycew as well. I don't think we outgrow roles. But the dynamic in a family can change and roles become muddled or uncertain. My sister, who was the oldest of the five of us, died of breast cancer in her 30's. Then I was essentially the oldest. I didn't want the role and don't particularly like it but even though we were all grown up my siblings seemed to "need" to have that role filled. I find I am not always a very good oldest sister


Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sarahd

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 84

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RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I'm sorry to hear that about your sister, Rebajane. I agree with the point that you don't outgrow your family roles. In the novel, I think the point is made that families rely on each other in different, but predictable ways. Miranda relies on Annie to be sensible, and because she is so sure of Annie's response to things, she knows she can be overly emotional, etc, and get the reaction she wants. But, also, to your point, Rebajane, about roles changing, I wonder how Miranda's new relationship with Lynn, a relationship that clearly calmed her down and gave her peace, would impact her relationship with her Annie? Would she take that calm and "sensibility" into her interactions with Annie, or revert to the same old Miranda?


Sarah D
Posted Aug. 11, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 121

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RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I don't know, Sarah. good question. I have never found, though, that my outside relationships affect my family relationships too much. I always revert to my sibling self. Too much history, I guess


Posted Aug. 12, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeannec

Join Date: 07/20/11

Posts: 3

RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

Yes, I think people do outgrow their family roles at times, as they mature and grow. Sometimes one takes the lead, but not at other times. It may depend on who is feeling weak or strong at the time.


Posted Aug. 14, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
randih

Join Date: 08/14/11

Posts: 4

RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

Without a doubt, I believe that people outgrow their family roles. Very few people are the same as they were at 8 or 12 or 16. It takes a very strong and open family to get past those traditional roles. I know that this is something that my sister and I have struggled with over the years -- getting past our history of big sister-protector and little sister-less responsible.


Posted Aug. 14, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
carolyna

Join Date: 08/14/11

Posts: 26

RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I don't know about the sibling roles being an only child. I do know about changing roles between child and partents though. Having taken care of my parents as they aged, their finances, their health, etc I remember clearlly the day they looked at me and told me they put their trust in my judgement. I went home and cried, then decided that my comfort zone would always be to ask them first and then make the decision.


Posted Aug. 16, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dlpiano

Join Date: 08/14/11

Posts: 15

RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

We grow as individuals but each member is still the mother, father, sibling, etc . Quirks with in the family have a habit of returning during family get togethers. It is hard to change these family roles.


Posted Aug. 19, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
andreas

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 5

RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I hope that people outgrow their rigid roles-such as the baby, or the funny one, or the bossy one. As you change as an individual, your role in relation to your family will change too. You could see this with the Weismanns when they were in Westport, and the sisters were first in their traditional roles. As the book progressed they did become less protective older sister, irresponsible younger sister, more equals with a little bit of each in them. They both outgrew the child role in the parent child dynamic and became both friend and parent to Betty.


Posted Aug. 20, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 80

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RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I am in my 60s and just got back from a family reunion. No matter where we are in our lives, we all still reverted to the same roles we had always taken in our family. So even though we all change, once we are with our family, we fall right back into the same places.


Posted Aug. 23, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 116

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RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I agree with annettes -- I do believe we can outgrow our roles in the family. I am the youngest of ten. But I am the only one that is college educated and a professional and have traveled the world. I have no children and am not married. Before my mother died we were close friends. Now I certainly do not fit the role of the "baby" that I once did. In fact, no one really seems sure what role I fit anymore since I seldom am around the family.


Posted Aug. 27, 2011 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 11

RE: Do you think it’s possible to outgrow your family role?

I agree with andreas about how Annie and Miranda's roles changed as the book progressed. They did take on more of a parent role with Betty although each in different ways. Annie was the responsible one, but it seemed that as Betty was dying Miranda stepped more into the role of protector/caregiver.


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