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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:
Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

Created: 04/09/19

Replies: 14

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1973

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Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

Roy is hurt when Celestial, in discussing her career as an artist, doesn't mention him or the role he played in giving her the encouragement and freedom to follow her dreams, but Walter argues that she is justified in her silence. Do you agree? Do you think her silence is due to shame, or is she just being practical in how she presents herself to advance her career? 


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: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

He did give her some marketing ideas, like the name, but the idea of the dolls and the work were all hers.


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: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

No. I think using Roy’s likeness in making the dolls and having the dolls be such a hit was Roy’s major business and artistic contribution to Celestial’s success. If she wasn’t going to be a wife to him, she could have at least given him a small percentage of the doll profits.


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

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 235

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RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I think she was justified. Yes, he'd contributed to her success with his knowledge— and his image! However, it was her talent that carried the day. I don't think crediting her husband in prison would have been a positive for her business.


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

Join Date: 10/09/18

Posts: 21

RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I couldn’t help but think that acknowledging her husband and life partner might’ve focused attention on Roy’s plight and possibly helped him be released sooner. He did contribute the business plan and negotiate the sales. She was the talent.


Posted Apr. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kdowney25

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 98

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RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I just tried to find this section in the book to refresh my memory of what was explained, but I couldn't find it. Celestial made dolls before she and Roy got together. He did encourage her with moving forward and the marketing, but I don't think she needed to make mention of her husband in prison. His situation had nothing to do with her business.


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

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 26

RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I think she was justified, as the previous commentator said she was making dolls before she met Roy. I think a first the resemblance was subconscious. As an artist I feel she wanted something that she alone could take credit for.


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

Join Date: 01/14/15

Posts: 33

RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I'm with janeb. Why not acknowledge him as an inspiration and provide some call to action re: his erroneous incarceration? Then again, this is her art, her creation, and it's also understandable that she wanted this soul-feeding personal extension of herself to be separate from the soul-sucking battle against racial injustice.


Posted Apr. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 231

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RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I do not think Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's contribution to her career. If he gave her nothing else, he did provide support and his likeness to her enterprise. While it is true that she was making dolls before she met him, she was not moving forward with a business plan. In her letter to him she says, "What is happening with you is so personal that I didn't want to see it in the newspaper." He responds to her, "the shop, that was my idea...Are you ashamed of me? You are, aren't you? I believe he hit the nail on the head here. She did not want to endanger her business prospects. In a later letter she replies, "If I say that my husband is in prison, that's all anyone can focus on, not me or my dolls."


Posted Apr. 22, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyn

Join Date: 05/12/16

Posts: 25

RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I was searching for Celestial's NARCISSISTIC sentence that susiej found, "If I say that my husband is in prison, that's all anyone can focus on, not me or my dolls."


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

Join Date: 10/19/16

Posts: 18

RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

No, I think it was one more example of her selfishness. She didn't want to draw attention to anything but herself. She let her parents give him money, she just acted like he had never existed


Posted Apr. 30, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 108

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RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I think people close to Celestial and Roy know about Roy's contribution to Celestial's business. I think she is justified in her silence in public about Roy's role in her career so that she has a business that will support her. She may be ashamed but she is also being practical.


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

Join Date: 03/26/18

Posts: 8

RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I think Celestial's silence IS justified, as this her work, her blood-sweat-and-tears. However, sometimes a blanket statement thanking all those family members who supported her in her journey may have alleviated some of the hurt.


Posted May. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 36

RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

Celestial should have given Roy more credit. He gave her the opportunity to stay home and work on her art. He also inspired her.


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

Join Date: 01/23/12

Posts: 42

RE: Do you think that Celestial is justified in her silence regarding Roy's role in her career as an artist?

I think Walter was very wise when he told Roy that Celestial was justified in her silence and I also think the same way.
Saying the truth could have ruined Celestials career and she needed money to support herself and Roy in prison.
Walter tells Roy that her potential for advancement in her profession will be greatly diminished by having her brand associated with incarceration, which evokes troubling stereotypes of African American life. And from what I read, Roy understood this afterward. I think being that she was awarded, a very special day, it wasn't the moment for Celestial to bring that up. I don't think she was shameful, I think that she was being practical.


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