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The stick-together families are happier by far
Than the brothers and the sisters who take separate highways are.
The gladdest people living are the wholesome folks who make
A circle at the fireside that no power but death can break.
And the finest of conventions ever held beneath the sun
Are the little family gatherings when the busy day is done.
Edgar Albert Guest emphasises the bond between family members in his poem 'The Stick-together Families'. He urges the readers to stick to the family, no matter what the situation is. The poem acts as a reminder to embrace the warmth and love of family. This notion is even more evident as the poet uses the phrase stick-together as an adjective to describe the family he is discussing about, similar to adjectives such as happy, joint, nuclear, etc., being added to the noun 'family'.
Guest says that families that stick together are happier compared to estranged families. As human beings, we all crave warmth and support. Man is a social animal and is not designed to live alone from the rest of the pack. Right from the earlier days, human beings lived as a pack and moved together. When one person faces trouble, the rest would pitch in their support and help them out of the situation. Similarly, families provide emotional and materialistic help when one is faced with any difficulty. The poet also talks about estranged families, where the members do not care for each other and are led by their own selfish motives. Siblings are meant to have each other's back, and if they fail to do so by spewing hatred, then they may not achieve happiness. When they go on their separate ways, forgetting their responsibilities towards each other, their life may not be as fruitful as a family that sticks together.
Happy siblings
The poet goes on to give a very warm picture of a group of family members sitting around a fireside in a circle. The warmth provided by the fire on a chill day represents the warmth given by family when one is feeling blue. These people who are there for one another are the happiest people that ever existed. They are also referred to as wholesome because they do not exist as mere parts. The bond makes them wholesome, and no power can separate them until death. The poet also says that there can be a lot of conventions and gatherings that are held for various purposes, such as business meets or political ones, but nothing can compare to a little family gathering organised after a busy day. It is the finest convention ever held under the sun, as it involves a lot of effort. After a long day of work and stress, meeting or spending time with loved ones is what makes life bearable.
A Family gathering
Meaning of Difficult Words:
GladdestVery happy
Separate highwaysGoing on separate ways
WholesomeHaving all aspects of physical, moral, emotional well being
ConventionsA formal/ informal meeting or get together
FiresideThe area that provides warmth with fire
BeneathPlace below
EstrangedNot affectionate/close
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). English Standard-9. The Stick-Together Families- Edgar Albert Guest (pp. 190-195). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.