In The Forsyte Saga, what does Aunt Ann stand for?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Forstye Saga is a long-form dramatic series by John Galsworthy, concerning a wealthy family and their various problems and issues.

Aunt Ann is a central figure in the first book, being the matriarch of the family, "her inflexible back, and the dignity of her calm old face personifying the rigid possessiveness of the family idea" ( Aunt Ann is essentially a keeper of the family history, remembering and passing judgement on their activities from the position of age and experience. She comments on the relationships of her family members, affecting their opinions and decisions.

While she is not as active in the story as others, being very old and dying in Chapter 9, Aunt Ann's presence remains strong in the family's memory and activity. In fact, her death causes the family to become closer and to share more of their personal troubles:

The family had always, one and all, had a real respect for Aunt Ann, and now that she was gone, they were coming far more frequently to The Bower, and staying longer.
(Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga,

Aunt Ann thereafter serves as a reminder of family pride, of family history, and of the inevitable end of life.

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The Forsyte Saga

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