Depiction of Family Relationships in "The Ocean at The End of The Lane" and "Rams"

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1409 Words
Date:  2022-04-04

Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at The End of The Lane" starts with the narrator showing his concern for the family when he has to travel back to his childhood town with the aim of not only attending the funeral but also visiting one of the areas where his family friends lived. The family in the novel, as presented by the narrator, is that of the Hempstocks and includes Lettie Hempstock, her mother, and the old Mrs. Hempstock who happens to be Lettie's grandmother (Gaiman I). The narrator of the novel clearly presents the family as an important aspect of his life. However, in the "Rams," Grimur Hakonarson presents two brothers engaged in the business of sheep farming and who do not see eye to eye because of the various differences in their personalities. Although the two brothers as presented by the director of the movie live in adjacent houses located in a family farm, they fail to agree on anything until the last part of the movie which reveals subsequent reconciliation between the two-family members to save their sheep (YouTube 1). Whereas "The Ocean at The End of The Lane" views the family as having a profound positive influence on its members, "Rams" does not attach any importance on the family as the two brothers are deemed to have negative influences on each other hence demonstrating the different family descriptions and influences.

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The two creative arts present different forms of families. Whereas Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at The End of The Lane" is more concerned about the extended family and friends, "Rams" is more focused on the nuclear family composed of only two brothers. In specific Gaiman narrates the Hempstocks who in this case included Lettie Hempstock, a friend of the narrator, her mother, as well as her grandmother. However, in "Rams" the family is depicted as the nuclear one consisting of the two brothers engaged in the farming of sheep. The two brothers include one named Gumi and the errant one who was known by the name Kiddi. The implication of the differences in the depiction of the family in the two works demonstrates the different ways in which the writer of the novel as well as the director of the movie viewed families in different ways. Notably, even in the contemporary society, people would have different ways of describing their families. Whereas some of the people would describe their family as only consisting of the immediate family members, others would present their families as consisting of not only their blood relatives but also their friends who they view as very critical. The narrator in "The Ocean at The End of The Lane" remembers the good moments he had with Lettie Hempstock, "She was only a handful of years older than I was back then, for all her funny talk. She was eleven" (Gaiman I)

The novel by Neil Gaiman starts by attaching a weighty significance to the family when the narrator has to come from a far distance so that he can view the house that his family resided some years ago. Although at first, the narrator was not aware of where he was driving to, he eventually came to understand that he was searching for a house that he lived during his childhood. The positive influence of the family is presented when it was the narrators birthday. Notably, the narrator shows the importance of the nuclear family as "When it became obvious that nobody was coming, my mother lit the seven candles on the cake, and I blew them out. I ate a slice of the cake, as did my little sister and one of her friends." As such, the novel is clear that when other people fail to turn upon during special family events, the family would always be there. In light of this, the author presents the family as having a pivotal role to play. However, in "Ram," the significance of the family is not the same as it is presented in the novel. In specific, when it is discovered that the sheep in the farm had been infected and had to be killed, none of the two brothers come to each other's rescue (YouTube I). As such, although the two siblings are brothers and family, they do not seem to help each other as was the case in the novel.

"The Ocean at The End of The Lane" brings to light the various ways in which the nuclear family lives while "Rams" espouse the same albeit in a different direction. Gaiman presents a perfect family whereby the parents are happy with their children and where they share the family responsibilities. However, a departure can be seen whereby the father in the family cooks while the mother was sleeping. In specific, according to Gaiman "My father was cooking, while my mother slept in" (Gaiman II) Additionally, the father undertook the responsibilities that were expected of a parent. There is a demonstration of love judging from the manner in which the parents in the "The Ocean at The End of The Lane" interacted with each other. As such, in the novel, the family is depicted as consisting of people who share love whereby the traditional role of cooking is not assigned to anybody as the husband can cook when the wife is sleeping. However, the love depicted in the novel is missing from the movie. In specific, according to YouTube, the two brothers differed immensely based on their personalities because one was considered sober while the other was stereotyped as being errant (1). The actions of the two brothers towards each brother do not demonstrate any love and, therefore, in contrast to the novel. The differences in the two families as presented in the two works are relatable to the contemporary society whereby some families are more solid and in love while others are filled with disagreements and conflicts.

Despite the differences in the depiction of the family in the two works, a similarity exists in the manner in which at the end, the family is presented as beneficial when the members work together than when they are in disagreement. Despite the Hempstocks being more of an extended family and the two brothers in "Rams" being nuclear, the two depict the family as important in each case. For instance, in "The Ocean at The End of The Lane," the togetherness of the family enables the members to stay together despite them losing their affluence and needing to make sacrifices. In specific, according to the narrator when he was called to be told about the fact that the family was no longer affluent "I thought I must have done something wrong and was there for a telling-off, but no: they told me only that they were no longer affluent, that we would all need to make sacrifices, and that what I would be sacrificing was my bedroom, the little room at the top of the stairs" (Gaiman II) The family went through that period smoothly and managed to even stay together. The same case can be seen when the two brothers presented in "Rams" had to come together after 40 years of disagreement to derive a way of saving their sheep. As such, despite the disagreements in their families, the writer of the novel as well as the director of the movie agrees that when families are united, they can make great things happen.


In conclusion, Gaiman's "The Ocean at The End of The Lane" and Grimur Hakonarson's "Rams" depict the family as having different influences on its members despite the end of the two pieces of work providing the critical importance of the family. Whereas "The Ocean at The End of The Lane" has focused on the Hempstocks in the context of the extended family, "Rams" presents the family in the context of two brothers in a nuclear family. Gaiman views the family as being filled with love and understanding while Hakonarson's family is filled with infighting and disagreements. The different depictions of the family show how different types of families exist even in the contemporary society. However, in the end, the two works prove that when families are united, they achieve big things as the brothers had to unite to save their sheep.

Works Cited

Gaiman, Neil. The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Hachette UK, 2013.

Youtube. "Watch Rams Watch Movies Online Free". 2018, Accessed 21 Mar 2018.

Cite this page

Depiction of Family Relationships in "The Ocean at The End of The Lane" and "Rams". (2022, Apr 04). Retrieved from

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