My Family and Other Animals

by

Gerald Durrell

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Themes and Colors
The Natural World Theme Icon
Absurdity and Storytelling Theme Icon
Childhood, Adulthood, and Education Theme Icon
Friendship and the Care of Animals Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in My Family and Other Animals, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

My Family and Other Animals follows the English Durrell family as they make their home on the Greek island of Corfu, beginning when the narrator, Gerry, is ten years old. Gerry is extremely interested in the natural world and treats Corfu as both a playground in which he can conduct his observations of plants and animals, as well as almost a character in its own right. In this way, the novel positions the Durrell…

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My Family and Other Animals often relays stories that exist fully in the realm of absurdity. In particular, the stories that Theodore tells often position the absurdity as being something inherent to Corfu—he proposes, essentially, that Corfu is a locale in which anything can happen, and if there's a way for something to go hilariously wrong, it will. This nonsensical quality of the island is something the novel attributes to the outlook shared by the…

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As the youngest Durrell child by nearly a decade, ten-year-old Gerry has both a unique perspective on life compared to the rest of his family and unique opportunities that arise because of his age. He sees the world around him through a distinctly childish lens—he's curious, often a little naïve, and often absorbed in his own world—though he also craves acceptance and friendship with the adults around him. Particularly as Mother makes attempts to hire…

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For Gerry, the only things in life that are more important than his scientific pursuits are his relationships with his friends, especially his non-human friends. He carefully anthropomorphizes all the animals he observes, giving them names and figuring out their personalities and quirks. As he acquires a number of more exotic pets throughout the novel, Gerry becomes increasingly interested in providing them the best care possible given his knowledge. In this way, the novel…

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