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Thread: "Families are always rising and falling in America." What does that phrase mean?

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    "Families are always rising and falling in America." What does that phrase mean?

    I might come off pretty ignorant since I never read any of Nathaniel Hawthorne's works and heard that phrase from The Departed..lol..But does he mean that families are always going through cycles of ups and downs?

    just curious, peace.

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    Registered User zoolane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FROADS View Post
    I might come off pretty ignorant since I never read any of Nathaniel Hawthorne's works and heard that phrase from The Departed..lol..But does he mean that families are always going through cycles of ups and downs?

    just curious, peace.
    'Families are alway going through cycles of ups and down'

    I have never book but what I think it mean is That average family will alway high moments eg marriages, birth anything make them happy and have lows will be eg people died, divorces, anything is sad or maybe cost money.
    English my native language and have characterizes of dyslexia.

    Copyright (C) 2011, Zoolane

    I have pass by English Exam.

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    thnx^^

    Thought I was on the right track, not sure if others felt the same way...makes sense now.

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    Also - America has always been seen as the 'land of opportunity', so many impoverished families emigrated there to make their fortunes. But for every fortune made was a fortune lost.

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by hillwalker View Post
    Also - America has always been seen as the 'land of opportunity', so many impoverished families emigrated there to make their fortunes. But for every fortune made was a fortune lost.

    H
    Yep, I would interpret it like that seeing as the quote specifically says America, as opposed to "Families are always rising and falling." I think it does have something to do with money- ancestors who are poor may have descendants who are rich who may have descendants who fail. The family referring not simply to immediate family but a blood line.

    That's at least how I see it.

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    Hawthorne didnt actually write that . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by FROADS View Post
    I might come off pretty ignorant since I never read any of Nathaniel Hawthorne's works and heard that phrase from The Departed..lol..But does he mean that families are always going through cycles of ups and downs?

    just curious, peace.
    Everyone, following the character in the movie, attributes the quote to Hawthorne, but I know for certain that it does not appear in the House of Seven Gables. Maybe elsewhere, but not in that novel. He does write about the Maule family, who "were generally poverty-stricken; always plebeian and obscure; working with unsuccessful diligence at handicrafts; laboring on the wharves, or following the sea, as sailors before the mast; living here and there about the town, in hired tenements, and coming finally to the almshouse as the natural home of their old age. At last, after creeping, as it were, for such a length of time along the utmost verge of the opaque puddle of obscurity, they had taken that downright plunge which, sooner or later, is the destiny of all families, whether princely or plebeian."

    The line captures the theme of the novel, but Hawthorne never states it so bluntly anywhere in its pages.

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    Edit: Repeated Post
    Last edited by AndyRoo; 04-26-2016 at 05:23 PM.

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    Would replacing the word "families" with the word, "dynasties" make anymore sense?

    As several others in the thread have said, I think Hawthorne is talking about the rise and fall of wealth/power/influence that various families gain and lose over the generations...

    In any case, I think another good question to ask concerns the significance of looking at the world in "dynastic terms"... personally, I wonder if a world where one associates blood-bonds and loyalty isn't a recipe for disaster?

    How's this for a concept... loyalty based on the quality of a person's behavior and thoughts? ...Rather than a blood relationship

    And how about this... instead "rises and falls"... how about we are all on the same level, and one person is worthy and privaledged to be honored with the trust of a leadership role? ...Leave the hierarchal "rising and falling" behind

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