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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 feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

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: 1946

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Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

There are two father figures in Roy's life: Big Roy is the one who shepherded him into adulthood and helped him grow into a responsible, capable person, but Walter is the one who taught Roy how to survive. Do you feel these men deserve equal credit? If not, which was the more important figure in Roy's life and why? 


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 feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

Not equal credit but Walter did deserve some credit because he looked after Roy in the prison system and they did form a bond which was good for both of them. Big Roy was a saint so it could never be equal credit.


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 feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

Big Roy raised Roy from a child to a man and helped develop his character while Walter taught him in prison and helped Roy stay alive. I think both men deserve equal credit not based on the number of years spent raising and helping Roy but based on the impact each man had in Roy’s overall development as a man.


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 feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

Big Roy was there for Roy all through his life. He helped shape the person he was and loved him unconditionally. He wasn't the biological father, but he was Roy's father in the truest sense of the word. Walter protected him in prison and came to have a positive relationship with him. However, he'd abandoned him as a child. Big Roy deserves more credit. However, I was glad that Roy continued the relationship with Walter after he was released.


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

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 26

RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

Definitely Big Roy deserves more credit since he raised him as a child. When we first found out that Walter was Roy's prison cellmate, my reaction was, "oh really! come on, such a "coincidence") It seemed like just a trite plot device. Walter was an interesting character, but the way he behaved with women was unconscionable.


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

Join Date: 05/10/18

Posts: 3

RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

I think Big Roy and Olive both deserve credit for the way Roy turned out. His ability to make a strong commitment to Celestial and his respect for her artistic ability reflect Big Roy's relationship with Olive.
Walter helped him survive the ordeal of prison life for five hears but did not shape his basic personality.

Mrs. J


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

Join Date: 04/16/19

Posts: 13

RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

I don't think that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out. Big Roy was the "ultimate" father figure, training and raising Roy as if he was his own; even giving him his name. Walter was a great help with helping Roy to survive in prison, but he was almost forced to. If he had not been in prison with Roy he wouldn't have reached out to be a part of Roy's life. They both were important, but not equally.


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

Join Date: 06/25/11

Posts: 18

RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

Big Roy was a more important figure in Roy's life than Walter was. Big Roy raised Roy as his own son and always thought of him that way. Walter did take care of him in prison and helped him survive that difficult period, but he abandoned him as a child and Big Roy was always there for him, standing by him.


Posted Apr. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 229

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RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

While Big Roy appears to have had the biggest influence on Roy as he molded his action and thought from his youth until even after his incarceration, and Walter abandoned him as a young man, his importance in Roy's life cannot be overlooked. Roy would never have survived in prison - or survived as well as he did - without the aid of Walter, and Roy recognized that and paid him the debt of recognizing him as his father in the end. The amount of time Roy spent with each is maybe not so important as the situation he was in with each - sometimes a great deal is accomplished in a short period as was the case here for Walter with Roy. Still, after that time is passed, Roy's life with Big Roy helps - not overtly but more subconsciously - Roy to recognize what he had and was given by Walter. He owes a great deal to both men - in equal measure - for what they contributed to his well being and character.


Posted Apr. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shirleyf

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 43

RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

I feel that Big Roy was the more responsible parent in that he guided Roy throughout his formative years provided unconditional love, and demonstrated respect for Olive, as well as a deep love of family. Roy learned Big Roy's lessons through example and through time and incorporated these values into his own life.
Walter was a manipulator who managed to get into the same cell as Roy, and did teach him survival skills - street smarts - and Roy stayed in touch with him after his release. However, the man that Roy became was mostly from the influence and lessons from Big Roy.


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

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 6

RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

Big Roy had more impact on Roy's early life. Roy lived with him and learned much from Big Roy's examples. And his love for and treatment of Olive. But Walter clearly helped Roy survive prison. Roy also learned more of his history through his time with Walter.


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

Join Date: 03/26/18

Posts: 8

RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

I am admittedly biased here by my own personal history, but I absolutely believe that Big Roy deserves the lion's share of the credit for how Roy turned out and the man he became. And, like I said, this may be my partiality speaking, but I don't know that Walter deserves any credit. I want to believe that Roy would have come out of prison, albeit weathered and changed of course, on his own, maybe even stronger, had Walter not been there.


Posted May. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lilliantpr

Join Date: 01/23/12

Posts: 42

RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

Big Roy deserves the highest credit. Roy was who he was because of Big Roy, who made him his son when he was a baby and was his father until a grown man. He never abandoned Roy but there was so much he could do as a father when he was in prison.
Walter, who was Roy's biological father, appears in his life when he is imprisoned and he protects him, which was the least he could have done knowing that his son was right there with him and was having the confrontations that inmates have while being incarcerated. He owed that much to Roy and to Olive, Roy's mother. I give him credit for caring and being responsible in those years that Roy was incarcerated.
I think that Roy at the end was a final product of how Big Roy and Olive raised him; his values were based on his family's upbringing.


Posted May. 25, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 59

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RE: Do you feel that Big Roy and Walter deserve equal credit for how Roy turned out? If not, which was the more important figure in his life and why?

I don't think the question should even be about equal credit. Big Roy adopted him and raised him as his own and he was the only one really waiting for him when he got out of prison. Walter looked after him in prison and they did maintain a relationship even after Roy's release. This leads me to believe that the relationship they established was based on more than helping Roy to survive his incarceration.


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