Study Guide

The Sound of Music Family

Family

The Sound of Music is basically the story about family.

We never learn what happened to Maria's family (though we might assume that, like the real Maria von Trapp, she was orphaned), but she seems to look to the Reverend Mother as a kind of mother figure when she needs advice or guidance. Maria finds herself plunked down in a family with seven challenging children and gets to work trying to get the captain to lighten up and get closer to his children.

From a fractured, emotionally distant bunch at the movie's start, the von Trapps become a close, loving family whose emotional harmony is as strong as their musical harmonies.

Questions About Family

  1. Maria's family is never mentioned. What does her lack of family connections do for the plot, if anything?
  2. Why do you think the children drove away so many governesses? Didn't they want a mother figure?
  3. What role does Uncle Max (not really an uncle) play in the family circle? Does his character contribute to the movie's overall portrayal of family?

Chew on This

The film presents a realistic portrait of a family that's been fractured by grief after the loss of their mother.

The family's "rescue" by Maria is a little too perfect and contrived. It's not that easy for a family to heal so quickly after such a major loss.