We are immediately aware of the importance of family in the play as in scene 2 we see a happy family situation. Lucia excitedly shows off her new dress as Rosinella and Massimo fuss over her
with delight. Their love for her is evident - they are willing to raise Lucia as their own daughter.
Marriage and family are important to Rosinella and this is something she wants for Lucia. She says to Lucia:
some day I’ll give you a wedding, I’ll give you a wedding like nobody here has seen before.
Rosinella’s love for Lucia turns destructive and Massimo declares:
You love that much you don’t want her to love anyone else. You love her that much, nobody else has to get loving her.
In contrast, Lucia’s father shows little interest in her welfare. Luigi’s lack of love for Lucia makes his character unappealing. He is keen to exploit her for work and money. This undermines Rosinella’s opinion that:
Nobody loves their families like the Italians.
This is further undermined as the audience see the caring and loving relationship in the Devlin family. Franco informs Rosinella that
They’re a great family…Really close. After Hughie’s father dies he declines Rosinella’s dinner invitation as he says
I don’t like my Mammy left on her own. Similarly, Bridget takes on the main role of responsibility in the family. She prioritises her family over her own problems and does not share the trauma of her abortion, as she explains
my mammy was leaning on me. Bridget and Hughie’s strong relationship is also evident when she gives him advice about his love life. The stage directions tell us that
Bridget is sympathetic and she later goes to stand up to Rosinella on Hughie’s behalf.