A Death in the Family Historical Context

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One aspect of the novel that is notably different than the way life is in contemporary America is the closeness of extended families, with adult children frequently living with or near their parents. When Jay's father is stricken with a heart attack, his son Ralph and daughter Jessie and their spouses are available to be at his bedside; when Jay dies, his wife's brother, her aunt, and her parents are within walking distance; and Great Aunt Sadie, a woman who is herself in her eighties, has responsibility for the well-being of her mother. In rural societies, as Tennessee was in the early part of the twentieth century, it is more common to find extended families supporting each other than it is in urban areas. Traditionally, populations of rural areas have been determined by the need for help: before industrialization, parents on family farms tended to have...

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This section contains 527 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Death in the Family Study Guide
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A Death in the Family from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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