Save the Family!

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Mrs. Antrobus:

"My husband says that the watchword for the year is Enjoy Yourselves. I think that's very open to misunderstanding.  My watchword for the year is: Save the Family.  It's held together for over five-thousand years: Save it! Thank you."

(Wilder, p. 54)


Mrs. Antrobus seems to be all about family.  The family needs to stick together always.  She never wants to be without them and wants them to be involved.  When Mr. Antrobus comes home from work she wants her children to look neat and tidy and look like good children. It seems as though she needs to impress her husband with her children and how well she had raised them. 

In Act 2 the Fortune Teller tells Mr. Antrobus to get his family together and get on the boat.  He responds by saying:

"My family? I have no family. Maggie! Maggie! They won't come." (Wilder 85).

When he becomes President he doesn't seem to want a family.  He wants to be independent and not have to worry about them but then when they don't come he does worry.

Later in the story he doesn't care about Henry.

This story just confused me in a lot of ways because it was like Mr. Antrobus was back and forth on the family issue.  He wanted a family and then he didn't and then he did again. Just make up your mind! 


Julianne Banda said:


I agree that Mr. Antrobus is back and forth about his family. I think the reason he doesn't like Henry later in the story is because in his head he keeps going back to the fact that Henry killed his brother who was his father's favorite son. However, I do not understand why he does go back and forth as much as he does seeing that his wife is all about the family and always wants them to stick together at all times.

Chelsie Bitner said:

That is a good point. Actually I forgot about Henry killed the other son. Any father would not be happy of a child who killed another child, let alone the 'favorite' child.

Rebecca Marrie said:

Wilder definitely goes back and forth on family. However, I think that this is because he based the play on the fickleness of the human race. People constantly change theirs views on things, especially family. Depending on how they are getting along with each other at the moment, a person may either "love" or "hate" there family. Whatever his or her thought is, will inevitably change within a period of time, at least for a little while.

Georgia Speer said:

After viewing Chelsie’s blog and Rebbeca’s comments I thought more about this one. Yes, I definitely agree that Wilder shows a back and forth struggle in Mr. Antrobus and whether he wants to save the family or not. But this all goes in sync with the references throughout the play that humanity is climbing upwards in how they behave, going from instinct survival of thinking about only animal instinct and survival now to dealing with many more complex issues. The “promise” that Mrs. Antrobus keeps stating is the reason behind everything, not love, passion, or a house, “And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love, that protected them-it was that promise.” (81) During this time era doesn’t it show that people can get caught up in the power and greed, “Except for two things, pleasure and power, what is life? Boredom! Foolishness. You know it is.” (76) As Wilder has Mr. Antrobus say to Sabina, the capitalistic ways can find their way into anything and destroy it.

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