"All happy families are the same, but every unhappy one has its own story." Really?

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"All happy families are the same, but every unhappy one has its own story."

 

This quote from Foster, chapter 18 page 161 really made me stop and re-read this a couple times and think that this seems to touch on a familiar feeling I feel that most readers will pick up on.  Foster's reach to the reader to feel familiar emotions when reading this don't we all think, yeah let me tell you about my family...?  Again Foster tells us on page 159, "So in literary work does submersion in water always signify baptism?  Well, it isn't always anything.  Always and never aren't good words in literary studies."  Once again Foster brings this to our attention, as he has described before on page 6 in chapter 1, "Always and never are not words that have much meaning in literary study."  If this is reiterated again, than why does it seem to be used so much, are we to simply ignore these words because they have no relevance?  For each time they are used the writer will come along with its use again but as to prove something else, I am a bit confused on this one?  Although it seems to make some sense as I have read other chapters in Foster such as in chapter 20 page 181, "The seasons are always the same in literature and yet always different.  Look for a set of patterns that can be employed in a host of ways, some of them straight forward, others ironic or subversive."  I don't know about anyone else but I placed this to as in chapter 20 on page 182, "We need a story to explain this phenomenon to ourselves no matter whom is telling a different version of this tale, but the basic impulse would remain constant."  If you spoke to different family members wouldn't you get a different version as how they view it, as Foster states here, but yet no matter how each member, or reader, sees the story, they basic family core remains constant.  So does this quote mean that if you are happy, you are constant and those families all see the same, or if you are unhappy than there is going to always be a different story?  Here it came again, that word "always", I just used it, I personally don't think that happy families all have the same pattern though.

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