Tag Archives: Bowen Family Systems Theory

Nuclear Family Emotional System and Family Projection Process in Tennessee Williams’s Period of Adjustment

This article explores the nuclear family dynamics in Williams’s play Period of Adjustment (1960) through Bowen Family Systems Theory: nuclear family emotional system and family projection process. Period of Adjustment is considered one of Williams’s most Southern plays where marriage and family values are comprehensively accentuated. However, on an emotional level, Period of Adjustment connects Williams’s familial works with Bowen’s views on the American family in the mid-twentieth century. The play is mostly neglected by many Williams scholars, and it is described thematically as shallow and superficial. Bowen’s theory provides a perceptive reading of the play that adds a novel interpretation to Williams’s emotional capability of producing a family systems-oriented drama. Furthermore, Period of Adjustment illustrates Dr. Murray Bowen’s concept of a family projection process and the four patterns of the nuclear family emotional system: emotional distance, dysfunction of one spouse, marital conflict, and impairment of one or more children.

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