Essay On Happy And Unhappy Families

Essay On Happy And Unhappy Families-67
My brother, for his part, stayed behind and became, among other things, uncannily familiar with the paramedics he would have to telephone, alone, during the worst years, to report yet another apparent maternal suicide attempt. There were many, many moments of immense joy in the early years: moments mainly sutured in my memory to things like sun cream, ice cream, books, trees, pets, performances, mountain animals, Mc Donald’s, lakes, seasides, swimming pools, and sand statues (complete with seaweed pubic hair).

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That is why it matters that Tolstoy’s opening line is a lie.

The great Russian I grew up in a white-collar, white, multilingual European nuclear family that on the whole seems to have been unhappier than most.

I fought both my parents like an anguished zoo animal from the age of twelve or so, and fled that household as soon as I could, hoping to escape, even if just partially, the mind-warping pain of the majority of the relationships it housed.

I have returned physically as a visitor to the house three or four times (it is only Dad who lives there now), but basically I have never gone back.

[Leo Tolstoy.] " data-medium-file="https://i2com/ fit=380,380" data-large-file="https://i2com/ fit=402,402" class=" wp-image-5822 " alt="[Leo Tolstoy.]" src="https://i2com/

resize=362,362" width="362" height="362" srcset="https://i2com/ w=402 402w, https://i2com/ resize=225,224 225w, https://i2com/ resize=380,380 380w, https://i2com/ resize=195,195 195w, https://i2com/ resize=120,120 120w" sizes="(max-width: 362px) 100vw, 362px" data-recalc-dims="1" /All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. The wife had found out that the husband was having an affair with their former French governess, and had announced to the husband that she could not live in the same house with him.

with the truthy formula “All happy families are alike; unhappy families are each unhappy in their own way.” It took well over a century for someone to call bullshit on this properly, and it was not only a communist feminist who did it, but one who uncritically revered Tolstoy for most of her life, publicly relating to him (in her words) like a “loyal wife.” “It’s a great first sentence,” concedes Le Guin in “Happy Families.” “It sounded good.” So many families, after all, are extremely unhappy, and this extreme unhappiness feels unique, because its structural character—like the structure of capitalism—is cunningly obscured from view.

But, she demands: “These happy families he speaks of so confidently in order to dismiss them as all alike—? —because I know the answer: they’re in the future, hinted at in books by Le Guin, part of history as yet unwritten.

—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina You have to wonder about when, in his writing process, Tolstoy came up with his killer first line, seemingly one of the truest and certainly one of the most famous in all of literature.

Did it always launch his 800-page novel, published when Tolstoy was 49, or did it arise during composition and end up placed there? ) In any case, does it not refute the maddening “kill your darlings” commandment?


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