SparkNotes Blog

The 7 Most Dysfunctional Families in Classic Literature

Do you ever feel like your family is a little dysfunctional? Well then do I have good news for you, because so does everyone else! (They think their own families are dysfunctional, that is. Not yours. They don’t even know your family, I bet, although I suppose they might. I don’t want to rule it out completely.)

Look, we have all at one point found ourselves at a family gathering, quietly minding our own business while chaos unfolds. Your two-year-old cousin is drawing on the walls with Magic Marker, your sister’s new boyfriend is vaping in the bathroom, and everyone is yelling about politics, the Game of Thrones finale, and whether or not it’s rude to say “No problem!” instead of “You’re welcome.”

Classic literature is relatable because it features many dysfunctional families. Perhaps their challenges are not QUITE the same as yours or mine (for instance, I’ve yet to meet a protagonist whose grandma thinks that ripped jeans, brunch, and Snapchat will lead society to ruin), but they’re dysfunctional nonetheless. Here are just a few of those families, and believe me when I say they’ll make you feel better about the maladjusted group of rabid hyenas YOU’RE related to.