Example Of Critical Analysis Of The Way We Never Were Book Review

Type of paper: Book Review

Topic: Family, Literature, America, United States, Books, Society, Women, Relationships

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/11/13

The purpose of this analysis is to synthesize theoretical review and provide analytical reading of the book. This review is going to provide Stephanie Coontz's interpretation and understanding of the way we never were. Stephanie Coontz is an award winning historian author with several publications. She is the author of the “The Way We Never Were”, among numerous publications. Strange Stirring was among the many books, which influenced her way to the 2012 award. She has also featured in several articles as a guest columnist and observer, this includes the London Guardian and Washington post etc. She has contributed considerable chapters to more than twenty-five academic books. She is also a marriage consultant and double as a teacher in several universities, she occasionally conducts training and workshops, and she participates in teaching and explain research article more clearly.
Stephanie’s passion and interest for family values inspired her effort in writing this book. Throughout all her articles and journals she has featured, she dwells more on explaining and advising about family values. Certainly, she believes that, the traditional family setup was more significant on impacting positive values in people, than the current society. Her inspiration to write the book was catapulted by serious issues facing American families in terms of demographic. Political and economic changes.

The way we never were

In Stephanie Coontz's book of the way we were, the author outlines different stereotypes in light of American families. The author counteracted past perceptions and provided several conceptions of dynamics in American families’ structures over time. She gave an analysis of America family lives from 1900 to 1990. Through her examination, she dispelled past perception that have predisposed the current or modern state of affairs within the American people. Through interpreting the chapters of this publication “the way we were” the author, Stephanie Coontz created elaborative opinion in which she argues that, the 1950 myths created perceptions, which perpetuate the reflection of how societies in America should be.
In chapter one, the author elaborated crisis within the American communities which tend to emanate from opinion that families in America craves for morals and values system of the early and middle 1900s. In her argument, she claimed that, the society is for the opinion, family issues and problems in the modern American families, emanates from vigorous participation and determination of women in effort to change family setups. She continued to argue that, some people believe that, families are facing crisis while women are working outside their homesteads, at the expense of children and families in general. As a result, they risk putting their family relationship and marriage institution in jeopardy. She continues to reveal that, individual recall family morals and values of the past generation, particularly the 1950s era. She argues that, domestic violence rate was considerably lower than what we experience in the current society, the minimal violence in the early generation was illustrated by greater standards and virtuous family values during the 1950s. She further arguably, claims that, majority in the current society are of the opinion that, today’s parents spend little time if not none, with their kids and siblings than in 1965. In addition, she continues to elucidate that, majority believes; the rate of teenage pregnancy and abortion has risen, particular associated with the transition of gender equality between men and women, which phenomenally resulted to role reversal in the overall society over time.
In countering the past perception of American families, Stephanie argues that, the American society has been governed by male individuals for centuries. She argues this, based on the fact that, men were deemed as breadwinners. On the other hand, she maintains that, women were restricted to domestic roles. She further asserts that, people lived by the notion that male individuals were not only capable of handling the family burden, but also provide the bacon for the family. In addition, and most critically, men were to provide direction to the entire family. While, on the other hand, female individual were to stay at home and control and manage the affairs in the homestead and children at large. The author further argues that, the perception about 1950 American societies are rather false fallacies and treacherous optimism with regards to reviving family values and morals. She claims that, the perception of 1950s generation in American families are delusional; by virtue that, many individuals illusion themselves with regards to irreversible family transformation trend is underway. She also continues to agree with those fostering the myth that, if modern American families recommit themselves to children and marriage, the American families is subject to circumvent all impasses caused by the revolution in economic and gender role of the family.
The entire publication is interesting, although I find her arguments not much effective as I wished it could be. For instance, the traditional family setup did not guarantee children and women protection from physical abuse and economic deprivation. Similarly, alcohol consumption and the widespread of drug abuse in the past days was higher than it is currently. Serious sexually transmitted diseases and prostitution were prevalent during the older days compared to current society.
What is interesting in this publication, is the fact that, all of the positive developments, were not only family practices but to the political and economic support systems for families. In fact, I can argue that, the 1950s families were a temporary stage in the generation life cycle. These were families who experienced Great War depression and formed families about the same time. The 1950s children’s are the one who pioneered the progressed gender roles and new family behaviors, in which the parents contributed as well. Consequently, the origins, contradiction and functions of what people perceive as traditional and intrinsic gender differences in family and work roles; were motivated and rose to resolve the developed tensions, created after men had abandoned their family roles to participate in political and market work. As a result, women substituted these roles that their husbands had dominated and became the emotional moral of the family.
Apparently, as much as I found this book exceptionally good in giving insights about family values, as borrowed from the tradition settings, I find it difficult to understand the complex reality that traditional families faced, by virtue that, there was a difference in social class, i.e. social change, diversity and poverty. Despite the ephemeral and exceptional nature of condition and values that supported Americans, their values have failed to offer better solutions to the content that underlie good older day’s romanticization. In fact, the reality of 1950 families were far more complex and painful than the expurgated memories this book would suggest.
Despite the progress practitioners and researchers are making to help couples in understanding family values, trends indicate that, marriage cannot primarily account for intergenerational care giving, interpersonal obligation and child rearing. Perhaps, this perception should incorporate law and conceptualize family values in terms of individual commitments as parents and not just partners. We should also sort and address the relationship between the rights of non-biological parents and extended families and those of a child. Further, Americans have not allowed the perception of self-reliance to complicate the reality of life histories. Especially, politicians are likely to fall prey of giving handouts to dependent poor, in order to make them self-righteous, therefore, they do not embrace the standards of family values in helping others.
In summary, this book is considerably written to meet at least the expectation of all levels in academics. It cuts across all levels of professional and academic class. The author gives insights into traditional values that significantly influence the standards of living in early generations. Arguably, the author compares the current societal values to the traditional values and, expounds why the current American families are subjected to family problems. She considerably explains how the role between male and female, in efforts to clearly demonstrate a contradiction of traditional values and modern values. Undoubtedly, Stephanie, is the one of the most exceptional historians who knows much about family life and societal role, in American communities. Her book is able to guide marriage institutions and the responsible of every person in the society. Consequently, the author, through her publications has impacted considerable influence to the American families. Her teachings, trainings and marriage consultations in universities and across the globe, demonstrates the values the present families should embrace. This will ultimately minimize the present family pressures.

Works Cited

Coontz, Stephanie. The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. Washington DC: Basic Books//ISBN, 2000. Book.

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