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|Named Person:||Edward Dickinson|
|Material Type:||Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript, Internet resource|
|Document Type:||Book, Archival Material, Internet Resource|
|All Authors / Contributors:||
Jean Merrill Balderston
|Notes:||Typescript; issued also on microfilm.
Sponsor: Arleen Otto.
Dissertation Committee: Philip Phenix.
|Description:||247 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.|
THE EDWARD DICKINSONS OF AMHERST.
A FAMILY ANALYSIS.
Jean Merrill Balderston.
The dissertation presents a model for amplifying the methods of the family development approach to family study, with particular attention to their applicability for the study of literary and historical family materials. These methods are illustrated in a family analysis of the family of the American poet, Emily Dickinson, over the successive stages of its life cycle. Those stages include the courtship and engagement stage of the Dickinson parents, the establishment stage, the child-bearing and child-rearing stages, the launching stage, the middle years, the waning years, and the terminal years of the family life cycle, through the deaths of Emily Dickinson and her two siblings.
The family development approach to family study is a longitudinal and eclectic approach based on the supposition that family experience is best viewed in the context of previous as well as current family phenomena. The use of a well-documented historical family permitted the innovation of tracing a family's development in all of its successive family life stages through its terminal stage and the deaths of both the parents and the children.
The fundamental innovation in the research model is the introduction of the concept of family theme. Family theme has been defined by social psychologists to represent unresolved family concerns. Typically.
These themes derive from an unresolved personal concern of a pivotal family member, usually a parent. Ultimately themes are rooted in family members' ambivalences around family and individual identity. The incorporation of the concept of family theme into a family development model permits tracing the processes of family emergence and family actualization, as well as normative family age-stage development.
The family theme which emerged in the model analysis of the Dickinson family began in the individual ambivalence of Edward Dickinson around fulfilling his individual launching stage task of becoming independent of his family of origin. His family of procreation was later observed to struggle repeatedly, and ultimately unsuccessfully, with its own launching stage tasks and with the related issues of family separateness and connectedness, family actualization and family creativity. The Dickinsons' ultimate lack of success in fulfilling these tasks was observed to be dependent also upon extra-familial factors which involved some consideration of historical and cultural forces present in nineteenth-century New England. The specific family theme which emerged for the Dickinson family is best summarized by the phrase, "Home is where the house is."
Ten recommendations are made to researchers wishing to incorporate these amplified family development procedures in family analytic studies using literary and historical family materials.
(1) Select a family which is sufficiently well-documented to be studied longitudinally.
(2) Sort the family's documents according to the sequential stages of its family life cycle.
(3) Select out for concentrated study family data which are.
(A) germane to the study of the family qua family and.
(B) germane across successive stages of the family life cycle.
(4) Subject relevant family data to questions regarding structure-functional, interactional, and developmental family theories, including the ways in which the family fulfilled the normative age-stage tasks attributed by family development researchers to the successive stages of the family life cycle.
(5) Isolate the pivotal family member.
(6) Identify the nature of this family member's individual ambivalences.
(7) Isolate the introduction of these ambivalences into his family of procreation.
(8) Trace the subsequent development of these ambivalences into a full-fledged modal family theme involving the children as well as the adults.
(9) Identify the effects of the family's theme on the fulfillment of its normative age-stage development.
(10) Identify the effects of the family' s theme on its creative family actualization.