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An American Marriage


A masterpiece of storytelling, and a 2018 Oprah's Book Club Selection.
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Discuss An American Marriage by Tayari Jones:
The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

Created: 04/09/19

Replies: 13

Posted Apr. 09, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1973

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The author says,

In an interview with The Paris Review, the author states, "I feel that we all are rather situational in our choices and the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her? Why or why not? Can you think of any examples in your own life where this would apply? https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/02/08/cant-cry-nobody-cries-interview-tayari-jones


Posted Apr. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 97

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RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

Oh, yeah. Life is full of twists and turns and you just never know how you may react.


Posted Apr. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 157

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RE: The author says,

Absolutely! This is what makes this novel so intriguing and relatable. No one should ever say what they will or will not do since we can only truly experience the present. We don’t know what the future holds.


Posted Apr. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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pauj

Join Date: 04/26/14

Posts: 37

RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

Definitely. You really can't know what you will do in a situation until you're in it.


Posted Apr. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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kellilee

Join Date: 11/18/14

Posts: 70

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RE: The author says,

I believe I would be the person who would stand by my wrongfully convicted husband through thick and thin (that is the person I think I am in my head) but, like Celestial, I may find myself willing and able to talk myself into why that marriage is not a real marriage and I deserve so much more than the cards life has dealt.


Posted Apr. 19, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
poniesnpearls

Join Date: 06/28/11

Posts: 37

RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

Very much agree.

Even if you are 'self-aware', you may not truly know how you will react until the reality of a situation is in front of you. Even if you have experience or exposure to situations, it's different when it directly impacts you. Even when you have been through something, you may not react exactly the same if something similar happens to you later in life.


Posted Apr. 20, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jennie r

Join Date: 08/06/17

Posts: 17

RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

Yes, I completely agree. Certain situations spark stored memories and feelings, causing us to act very differently than we would predict.


Posted Apr. 23, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JillL

Join Date: 10/19/16

Posts: 18

RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

Yes, I think if you had asked Celestial before all this happened she would have assumed she would stand by
Roy.


Posted Apr. 25, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marianned

Join Date: 07/02/15

Posts: 72

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RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

I’m not quite as sure as most of the other responders. Yes, I think there are definitely situations where our behavior surprises, even shocks, us, but I think we have some control over what we most of the time. While what happened to Roy and Celestial was far out of the ordinary, I think both of them were already having enough self-doubts and doubts about each other that the outcome of their relationship was somewhat predictable even without what happened to Roy. It might have taken longer to unravel, but I don’t think their marriage would have lasted.


Posted Apr. 28, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carolj

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 6

RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

We can only imagine how we would react in a specific situation.


Posted May. 02, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
TLVZ721

Join Date: 03/26/18

Posts: 8

RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

I wholeheartedly agree with Jones on this point. Your beliefs and morals may not be as strong as you once thought when you are put in a difficult situation. And I think a lot of people (myself included) are not very comfortable when the realization comes that you may need to alter the way you've always thought about something, when push comes to shove. For example, when in love, you make ceratin vows to stand by someone, no matter what comes your way. If the person does something horrendous (not like Roy; I truly believe he was wrongly accused and convicted), you can't always hold yourself to the same promises you made while in the throes of young love. No one speaks of the caveats to those promises when things are wonderful.


Posted May. 02, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marilynj

Join Date: 08/07/11

Posts: 54

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RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

I often think and say what I would have done or said had I been in someone else's position. I don't think, however, that is really possible. I've often asked myself later, after a situation and after I've had a chance to think about something, why didn't I say or do this. Partly we are taken by surprise and can't think of anything. Who really has the knowledge or the confidence to say what she might do in any of the situations that happen to us in life every day. Our imaginations are much more adept, well-spoken, and correct than our actual abilities.


Posted May. 06, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elizabethabby

Join Date: 07/30/15

Posts: 12

RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

I do think it is possible to think we are - or will behave - a certain way, yet find an incongruence in our behavior - especially if we have ideas about how we would handle a situation we have never been in. In my daily life, I say that x y and z are priorities.... But I regularly choose to put a b or c as a priority (for instance... My family is always more of a priority than my phone, but yes there are times I am not present because I am distracted by my phone). If this be the case in daily tendencies, or areas I regularly face, where I have to be watchful to ensure I don't behave out of sync with my values, even more so in situations like Celestial and Roy's. It is so easy for me to sit at a distance and say, "it's wrong for Celestial to leave Roy while he is wrongly imprisoned" ... Yet I can't fathom the difficulty and complexity of their situation. It is heartbreaking to consider either scenario, staying or leaving - it is very easy to say we would or should behave a certain way, but their story shows us we may be challenged to follow through when the situation presents itself.


Posted May. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lilliantpr

Join Date: 01/23/12

Posts: 42

RE: The author says, "I feel...that the person that we think we are in our heads is not necessarily exactly the person we will be when a situation calls to us.” Do you agree with her?

Totally agree with the author. We may be strong in our normal, happy lives and react accordingly but when difficult situations overcome us, it's like a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake. We know what we should do, how we should react, but we panic, we lose conscience of reality and who we are and what defines us is forgotten. We act differently from what we had stored in our minds and making not the best choices.


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