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The Family and Music
thesisposted on 01.08.2021, 00:00 by Daniel P Magers
The Family and Music is about the conflict that emerges between Ana María Garcia and Teresa Garcia—Mexican-American teenage sisters living in the Midwest in the 1990s—when one is revealed to be a musical prodigy. Raised by a widowed father, the discovery of the younger sister Teresa’s talent makes her still-grieving father devoted to making her a famous musician. The result, over the years, is the gradual alienation of his older daughter, Ana María, who at the beginning of the novel, enrolls in a new, primarily white upper-middle class high school. Ana María, or Marie (as she fashions herself), tries to have a normal life while contending with a father who devotes his time to her sister, who is single-mindedly in a pursuit of rock music stardom. The third-person narration, taking place between 1996 and 1997, is interwoven with present-day “interviews” with people who look back on when they knew the sisters a generation before. The novel’s central dynamic involves a triangular social relationship of a group where one is favored over another or one feels like an outsider (here it is a family unit). the novel’s thematic issues of cultural assimilation, anxiety, depression, dysfunctional family life, body and weight issues, and aspiration and disappointment. Their primarily white, midwestern surroundings tend to mark the girls as racially different, though their multi-ethnicity (indigenous father, white mother) leaves them in a status of “both and neither”.