Study Guide

Matched Family

By Ally Condie

Family

Even coming here empty-handed would be better than disappointing Grandfather. (7.83)

Ugh, Cassia feels so ashamed and humiliated when Grandfather—the person whose approval she most covets throughout the book—disapproves of her gift. We all know how awful it is when you feel like you've disappointed your family.

Grandfather looks at us and says the best words of all with which to end a life. "I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you."

We all say it back to him. (7.99-100)

Wouldn't this be the best way to die? Surrounded by family, telling them you love them, and hearing it back. Cassia agrees. This scene shows us that despite all the ways in which Society has changed the world, for better or for worse, some things remain the same, and one of those is the power of familial love.

This is who I am. But not who Grandfather thought you could be. (8.44)

Figuring out who we are and how this fits in with who our family wants us to be is one of the toughest parts of growing up. And haven't we all felt guilty over the possibility of not living up to our family's expectations?

My father covers his face with his hands, a gesture so sudden and anguished that I take a step back.

"I didn't lose it. […] I destroyed it. That day. He made me promise that I would. He wanted to die on his own terms." (12.28)

So many family-isms packed into these few lines—the shock at seeing a parent break down for the first time and realizing that they don't know everything, the tough choice of fulfilling a family member's wishes versus doing what you believe to be right.

My father sometimes bends the rules for those he loves. For my mother. For Grandfather. (17.43)

Even though we at Shmoop are pretty much always law-abiding citizens, we might bend a rule here and there for those we love, too. Wouldn't you? Protecting your family at all costs is one thing that's not so different about the Society from our own world.

I may be a sorter like my father and my grandfather before me, but I am also my mother's daughter. (21.18)

Despite all the differences between Cassia's society and our own, one thing remains the same—for better or worse, our family has a huge impact on who we become. For Cassia, the struggle between the rebellious spirit she gets from her father and grandfather, and the nurturing side she gets from her mother is something she wrestles with throughout the book.

I cannot go gently now. Not even for the sake of my parents, my family. (21.79)

Protecting your family versus doing what you believe is right—it's pretty much the toughest choice anyone could have to make, are we right? Cassia's gotten to a turning point here where her path becomes clear.

I still invented levels and record of achievement and spent almost all my free time during those months coming up with games I thought he would like. (24.46)

Cassia's pretty much the coolest sister ever, coming up with games that Bram can play on his scribe to make school less scary. Her family's happiness is super important to her.

"And then when I came home again and saw all of you, I realized I had to report the truth. I had to fulfill my duty to the Society and guarantee our happiness. And keep us all safe." (27.62)

Cassia's mom is faced with the same tough choice as Cassia—doing what's right or protecting her family. Mom makes the opposite choice though, and does what Society wants in order to keep her family safe. Guilt trip much, Cassia? This moment shows us that there's often no clear right answer when it comes to family.

She knows what my father did. She knows what I want. She knows and even though she would not destroy a tissue sample or love someone who was not her Match, she still loves us, even though we have done those things. (31.103)

Pretty much the best part of family is that they love you no matter what, even when you screw up or do something they totally disagree with.

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