If there's one thing a Southerner knows, it's their family tree. (9.12.130)
Judging by some of the folks we meet in Gatlin, those family trees have some pretty gnarled roots.
"We're gifted, just like some families are smart, and others are rich, or beautiful, or athletic." (9.15.88)
Don't be embarrassed if your family doesn't fall into one of these gifted categories. Shmoop's doesn't either.
It was starting to feel like we were taking about just another crazy Southern family. [...] The Ravenwoods had been around as long as any family in Gatlin. Why should they be any less crazy? (9.15.90)
Every family has its dysfunctions. You probably know someone with an uncle living in the basement or with a shape-shifting brother, right?
"Everyone decided it would be too hard for parents to turn their backs on their children if they went Dark." (10.09.118)
Shmoop thinks a true family would still love you even if you turned into a crazy, evil person.
"My uncle is risking his life to protect me. He's always been there for me. He took me in when he knew I might turn into a monster in a few months." (10.10.63)
Lena may not have a mother or father to protect her, but Uncle Macon seems to be the next best thing.
I was angry at Amma, angrier than I'd ever been at her in my whole life, but I still loved her. [...] Amma was the only one who looked out for me, who cared or even noticed if I skipped school or lost a game. (10.10.68)
Amma serves as both Ethan's mom and dad, more or less. Ever since Ethan's mom died in a car accident, his dad has been totally absent. Amma is the only responsible adult in his life. Even if she rubs him (and us) the wrong way sometimes, we can't help but love her.
Without Amma I was lost. And without Macon, I knew Lena couldn't even find her way to lost. (10.31.3)
Even though Ethan isn't related to Amma by blood, and Lena is just a niece to Macon, they are family. And whatever family you have is the family that matters.
"Blood of my heart, protection is thine!" (10.31.235)
Lena explains that this chant has nothing to with actual blood (which is a relief, because that would be nasty and kind of a health hazard). This is blood as in family. We hear it's thicker than water.
It was bad enough to lose your mother, but even I couldn't guess what it would feel like to find out your mother wanted you dead. (11.27.145)
Um, yeah. We're not sure either. Talk about family dysfunction.
It was only since my mom had died that I realized how much I relied on Amma, how much I had always relied on her. She was the only thing that had kept me afloat. Without her, I probably would have drowned, like my dad. (12.13.9)
It's pretty sad that Ethan doesn't even consider his dad when he's thinking about the reliable people in his life. What are we supposed to think of Ethan's dad anyway?