André Gide’s sentence “Families, I hate you” was the question of Sciences Po Bordeaux at BAC+1 in 2013.
The exact title of the question: « Family I hate you », André Gide, Les nourritures terrestres, 1897
Several key words:
family: probably the most important, define well all the acceptances: large family, restricted family – nuclear – , traditional family, families of the heart, biological family
hates you: defined as a feeling of deep antipathy.
Short biography of André Gide:
André Gide (1869–1951) was born in Paris. His father died when he was only eleven years old. An event marked his life at the age of thirteen, when he saw his cousin Madeleine Rondeaux crying because of his mother. He meets Pierre Louys, Mallarmé and Valéry. André Gide published Les Cahiers d’André Walter in 1891. While refusing a sexual love, he recounts his passion for Madeleine. He travels to North Africa, where he reveals his homosexuality, but marries his cousin Madeleine in a white marriage. He returned to North Africa several times where he drew inspiration for his writings: Paludes, Les nourritures terrestres in 1897, Feuilles de route, Amyntas, l’Immoraliste. Politically, he sided with the Dreyfusards without getting involved. He also kept a diary since his adolescence, in which a particular place was given to religion and the figure of Christ. He created La Nouvelle Revue française. In 1917, he left for England with his lover Marc Allégret, which caused Madeleine to burn all his letters to which he was attached. Two works, Prétextes and Nouveaux Prétextes, explain his political convictions and his thinking. He also wrote plays and novels, which inspired the New Novel movement. In 1925, he left for the Congo and Chad. He then severely criticizes the colonial system. From an affair with Elisabeth, Van Rysselberghe was born his daughter Catherine. His ideas mark a distance with his fascination for religion and a rapprochement with communism: he leaves for the USSR in 1936 where Joseph Stalin receives him, but from which he returns criticizing the communist crimes. After the death of Madeleine, he often lives in Tunisia while the Second World War breaks out. André Gide breaks off his relationship with La NRF. He is considered as “demoralizing the youth” by the regime of Pétain, which preserves him from compromising with Vichy France. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947, but refused to enter the Académie française. A pulmonary congestion caused his death in 1951.
“Family I hate you”
Les nourritures terrestres is a lyrical work where he develops the exaltation of the senses.
The sentence Family I hate you are to be understood in its context:
“Families, I hate you!
jealous possession of happiness.”
You will note the plural of families, while the question of Sciences Po Bordeaux writes “Family I hate you” in the singular.
André Gide explains that the family is the possible place for a “primary socialization”, but the family is also the place closed on itself which has its own logic. The events of his childhood, the death of his parents, could prove it.
Correction Plans for Sciences Po Bordeaux 2013
You could adopt several outlines, as much on the form as on the content. The following two outlines were among the best:
I. Family, I hate you. Reasons to hate the family.
II. Family, I love you. Reasons to love the family.
III. Questioning the concept of family.
I. The family is closed in on itself
II. The family is, however, necessary and must allow for openness to the world