When I first saw this creative challenge regarding intergenerational stories, I immediately paused, my mind skimming mercilessly fast over the plethora of books I have read and the families and generations that have passed through my mind because of them. Everything from "The Great Gatsby" to "Nectar in a Sieve" crashed through my brain instantaneously. I decided to take a little time to think about it and over dinner and clean up, mulled the idea over in my mind. As I did so, two book kept returning to the forefront of my mind, "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" and "The House at Sugar Beach". I have mentioned both books before, as they are two of my favorites, and stand out as excellent examples of many things, and again they stood out as phenomenal examples of writing, this time as stories illustrating, rich, diverse families.
In "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" Maya Angelou's family stretches, most prominantly, the three generations of her grandmother, mother, and herself. Both books have strong matriarchal themes, the women being the ones to hold the family together and carry it through crisis and tribulation, into the future. The three women experience life shattering events, changing times, including integration, and establishing their own type of family and structure within the things that shape their lives. They grow, change, and yet hold fast to what makes them innately them.
"The House at Sugar Beach" has similar themes, with the main character, her mother, and grandmother being the pillars that hold the family together even in the midst of revolution. What it is about these books, and their intergenerational themes is that each character while experiencing things as an indiviual, also experiences them as part of the whole of the family. They influence and mold each other, working often by themselves through their lives, but never alone. Distance has no bearing on their closeness and they face the changes that life brings together, bravely, and with dignity.