Sons of Anarchy;The Family Collage Chantal Wood CMS 332 December 13, 2012
“Family is a group of intimates who generate a senseof home and group identity; complete with strong ties of loyalty and emotion, and experience history and future”. (Galvin, Bylund, and Brommel, 2012, p. 6) The Teller-Morrow family is definitely not a normal or common family but when they are together, they generate a sense of home and love. They support each other through everything and would protect their family at all costs.
The Teller-Morrow Family Clay Morrow, President of Sons of Anarchy and husband of Gemma Teller Morrow. He is one of the main characters in the show and plays an important part within their family. He makes all the decisions and takes the role of the leader. Gemma Teller Morrow, the mother of Jax Teller and wife of Clay Morrow. She is also a very important part of their family and is a strong-willed woman. She is definitely a family person and will do anything to protect her family.
The Teller-Morrow Family Cont. … Jax Teller, Vice President of Sons of Anarchy and son of Gemma Teller Morrow. Another main character who would do anything for his family. He takes the role of a leader but someone who thinks twice before he acts. Jax feels the need to change the club and take on the role of a good father figure. Tara Knowles-Teller, doctor at St. Thomas Hospital and Jax’s wife. A kind-hearted but strong woman who helps the club out with their injuries, etc. When Jax and Tara are together, their love is immediately seen from everyone around them.
The Family Continued Abel Teller, Jax’s son and Tara’s Thomas Teller Jr., Jax and Tara’s adopted son. Abel’s mother, Wendy is infant son. Thomas was named after currently in rehab for drugs. Jax’s brother who passed away.
The Teller-Morrow Family Cont. … John Teller, the former President of the Sons of Anarchy and the former husband to Gemma Teller Morrow. John Teller was the founder of the Sons of Anarchy and truly wanted to change the way the club was headed. Unfortunately, John passed away when Jax was 15 years old by a semi-truck. There is suspicion that John Teller’s death was not an accident and that Gemma and Clay were behind it.
The Family Continued Maureen Ashby, John Teller’s ex mistress Trinity Ashby, John Teller’s daughter and and the mother of Trinity. She lives in Jax’s Teller’s half sister. She lives in Belfast, Ireland and is married to the Belfast, Ireland and works in her mother’s President of the Sons of Anarchy of Belfast. store.
The Cohesion of the Teller-Morrow Family “Cohesion is defined as the emotional bonding that family members experience with each other.” (Galvin, Bylund, and Brommel, 2012, p. 30) With cohesion, there are four levels that range from extreme separateness to extreme closeness. The Teller-Morrow family would be in the level of enmeshed. “Family members experience extreme closeness, loyalty, dependence, and almost no individuality.” (p. 31) The family is enmeshed mainly because of the Sons of Anarchy club. In the club, loyalty and dependence is how they keep the club alive. The enmeshed family ties are important in their survival as individuals and as a family. Both Clay and Jax tell their “old ladies” Gemma and Tara about the club and the secrets within it, showing their loyalty and closeness to their wives.
The Flexibility of the Teller-Morrow Family “Flexibility is defined as the amount of change in a family’s leadership, role relationships, and relationship rules.” (p. 32) The Teller-Morrow family’s level of flexibility would be structured. “Structured is when family members experience more moderate levels of change as well as limited shared decision making and leadership and relatively stable roles and rules.” (p. 32) With Clay and Gemma, the decision making is mostly left up to Clay but Gemma has some say in what goes on. Although she does not make the changes within the club, she has a great deal of influence over Clay. With Clay and Jax, the decision making is finalized by Clay because he is the President of the club. Although Clay will not be President forever, the thought of him stepping down and losing his power is not a change Clay wants to accept.
The Teller-Morrow Family System The Teller-Morrow family system is interdependence. If one member of the family acts or changes in a certain way, it affects the rest of the family. When Jax agrees to go nomad because of tension between him and Clay, Tara becomes upset that he didn’t talk to her before he decided this. It ended up affecting her and her job at the hospital. Gemma is also upset about Jax’s decision which affects her and Clay’s relationship.
Narrative Theory “Narration involves verbal and nonverbal symbolic actions, words and/or deeds, set within a sequence of events that have meaning for those who create or interpret them.” (p. 72) Before John Teller died, he wrote a book about Sons of Anarchy and what his dreams were for the club. In this book, John writes about freedom but not for material goods such as illegal weapons. When Jax finds this book, he sees what his father wanted all along and begins to wish for the same thing.
Communication Privacy Management Theory & Boundaries The communication privacy Their boundary rule usage is that management theory is how family they do not speak of what members decide to talk about happened. It remains private and private information. only between them two. Boundaries are what surrounds the private information and whether that information will be disclosed to others. Jax and Tara have a boundary rule based on the context and the risk/reward ratio. Jax and Tara killed the man that was stalking and harassing Tara. The risk of people finding out will land both of them in prison.
Communication Patterns that Influence Family Meanings; Rules With the Teller-Morrow family, they use the regulative rule. “Regulative rule prescribe acceptable communication behavior– how when, where, and with whom to talk.” (p. 83) With Clay and Jax, they know when it is an acceptable time to talk about the club and the things going on within it. An example would be when Opie’s wife Donna was killed because Clay made a terrible mistake. The only people that knew about this were Clay and Jax and they had a regulative rule on when and where to talk about this.
Family Secrets In the Teller-Morrow family, there are a great deal of secrets kept from each other. Lies and secrets are shared between every single person in the Sons of Anarchy. The type of secrets that they keep from each other are usually toxic secrets. “Toxic secrets poison family relationships; key family issues and stories remain untold and unexplained.” (p. 89) A major toxic secret that was revealed in season 3 was that John Teller had an affair with Maureen Ashby while staying in Ireland. Only Gemma and Maureen knew about this secret and the secret that Trinity was John Teller’s daughter. It was only because Jax and Trinity were kissing that Gemma and Maureen agreed to tell them that they were related. Gemma is usually the one who keeps the most secrets from her family, either to protect them or to keep them close.
Functions for Family Secrets Functions for secrets can be a for The privacy function is also seen defense. between Tara and Gemma. “Defense secrets protect “Privacy secrets are concealed information from outsiders who because they are seen as might use it against family personal and/or irrelevant to members.” (p. 90) others.” (p. 90) The secret that Clay mistakenly The secret that Tara was had Opie’s wife killed was a pregnant with Jax’s baby was only defense secret for him and his known between her and Gemma. family. He did not want the club to Tara felt that Jax wasn’t ready for use that information against him. another child and felt that it was only her concern.
Marital/Partnership Maintenance Marital/Partnership Maintenance is very important to both Clay and Gemma and Jax and Tara. Both relationships express the maintenance strategies of openness and assurances. With Clay and Gemma, they share a great deal of assurance. “Assurances include stressing love, support, and commitment.” (p. 108) Gemma is incredibly supportive of Clay and the Sons of Anarchy. She is always by his side and shows that she is committed through everything. With Jax and Tara, they share a great deal of openness. “Openness includes self disclosure, as well as explicitly discussing the relationship and sharing thoughts and feelings about relational problems.” (p. 108) When Tara became an “old lady”, she told Jax that she wanted to know what he was doing and the actions of the club. They also discuss their future and when Jax proposes to Tara, he tells her he eventually wants to leave the Sons of Anarchy and raise their family the right way.
Relational Maintenance Strategies; Rituals “These special meanings, enacted in repetitive form, contribute significantly to the establishment and preservation of a family’s identity or relational culture.” (p. 113) Gemma has a family ritual of potluck dinners at her house, where the Sons of Anarchy members and her family enjoy a dinner together.
Relational Currencies Relational currencies are the acts of loving behavior. (p. 120) With Jax and Tara’s relationship, they use the relational currencies of self-disclosure, sexuality, and favors.
Intimacy within Partnerships “Commitment implies intense singular energy directed toward sustaining a relationship.” (p. 129) In season 3, Jax tries to push Tara away to protect her from getting hurt. Tara expresses that she isn’t going anywhere and that she is committed to their relationship, no matter what. Self-disclosure is shown between Jax and Tara. Jax is open with her about the club and the things he has done. He is willing to self- disclose to Tara because he trusts her.
Role Appropriation “Society provides models and norms for Gemma and Tara are definitely there for how certain family roles should be their husbands but don’t always do what assumed, thus creating role expectations.” they are told. They are very strong, (p. 163) Society is changing as the years go independent woman that don’t like to be on, but it is still common for the woman to told what to do. be the stay-at-home wife while the husband “Current research suggests that males’ is the breadwinner. roles are becoming more flexible as adult Role expectations for “old ladies” are to be partners renegotiate their roles and males there for their husbands and to do what become increasingly involved in raising they are told. Most of them work and care their children” (Duckworth & Buzzannell, for the children. 2009). Jax and Tara seem to both have the same roles in raising their children and both are financial providers for their family.
Marital Ideology Role Types Jax and Tara’s marital ideology would be egalitarian. According to Hochschild’s research, “egalitarian marriages are when both partners wish to jointly share home responsibilities as well as take advantage of career opportunities.” (p. 171) Jax knows how important Tara’s career is to her and really supports her working at the hospital. They both expect each other to put in a joint effort on their work and their children.
Power in the Teller-Morrow Family The power base in the Teller- Morrow family comes from Gemma, where she holds the affective resources. Gemma is always caring for her grandchildren and countlessly gives her family love and affection. She is definitely a family woman and nurtures Clay, Jax, Tara, and her grandsons.
Influence Persuasion influence strategies are important in the Teller-Morrow family. “Persuasion influence is giving opinions, asking repetitively, begging, or whining.” (p. 190) When Jax agrees to go Nomad because of the tension between him and Clay, Gemma gives numerous opinions and asks Jax repetitively to stay.
Decision Making In the Teller-Morrow family, “Accommodation decisions decision making is normally may favor a dominant made by Clay. member, and less aggressive Since Clay is President of the family members may develop club, he has more say over a pattern of submitting to their Jax and ultimately makes wishes.” (p. 197) decisions whether everyone When Clay makes the agrees or not. decision to mule drugs in return for cash, Jax is unhappy with this decision but submits to his wishes.
Unresolved Conflict The unresolved conflict between Clay and Jax lasted a great deal of time. The conflict about Clay accidentally killing Donna really hurt Jax because Opie is his best friend. Jax could not get passed it, which ultimately made him chose to go Nomad. Jax wanted to disengage himself from Clay. “Disengaged members avoid each other and express their hostility through their lack of interaction.” (p. 226)
“Inside the club, there had to be truth. Our word was our honor. But outside, it was all about deception. Lies were our defense, our default. To survive, youhad to master the art of perjury. The lie and the truthhad to feel the same. But once you learned that skill, nobody knows the truth in or outside the club; especially you.” John Teller
References Galvin, K. M., Bylund, C. L., & Brommel, B. J. (2012.). Family Communication (8th ed.). United States: Pearson Education. "John Teller Quotes from Sons of Anarchy." John Teller Quotes from Sons of Anarchy. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2012. All images using Google Images.