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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:
What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

Created: 04/09/19

Replies: 10

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1973

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What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

In her "Dear John" letter to Roy, Celestial says, "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." What do you think she means by this statement? Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?


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: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

I thought she was trying to say she would be his friend which was just not what he wanted from her. They were both really unrealistic about their relationship. I don’t think he could have been expected to respond in any other way.


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: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

Celestial means she will be his friend but not his wife. She wants to show the loyalty of a good friend without the sacrifice and commitment of a faithful spouse. Roy was right to reject her offer because it would have been, for him, like receiving charity or taking scraps when he wanted the whole meal.


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

Join Date: 05/12/16

Posts: 25

RE: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

This was in a letter Celestial wrote to Roy in prison. By "support" I felt she would continue to defend him and aid him perhaps financially as a friend might do. What was giving Roy hope was the day they would resume life as husband and wife. How else could he respond? What would you have done?


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

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 231

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RE: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

Celestial seems to mean that she can support him as a friend would - she will listen, believe, argue for, offer financial aid as in paying for the lawyer - in other words she will standby him but not in an intimate or married way - she will not even give voice to his existence in prison or let the world know where he is. Did they not marry for better or worse? She has rejected him as a lover and husband, an intimate confident - of course Roy is right in rejecting her offer. He loves her, in his mind is standing with her, and fighting for the day when he will be literally standing with her again. How could he not reject this offer?


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

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 174

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RE: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

Roy cannot accept this from his wife - his marriage was all he had - but although I understood his anger, one cannot demand that someone remain in love with you! It then becomes irrational and abusive. If you believe in "for better or for worse" blindly then you agree to stay despite abuse at the worst and loss of love at best, and no one should be forced to stay because of guilt, fear, or even vows. Adding to that the fact that he had broken their vows by cheating - well you may not like it but sometimes you have to accept it.
I felt her pledging to stand by him was partially out of her guilt for moving on with Andre. His rage, while understandable was not acceptable. For me his saving grace was that he did not go thru with what he started in the bedroom and even then I was happy he found love with Davina! I think in the end he came out a much better person for not having Celestial as his wife- and that, to me is a tribute to the writing!


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: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

In hindsight, it appears that Celestial meant merely financial support - she would continue to deposit funds in his inmate account. Roy was 100% right to reject her offer and fight for his wife and his marriage. Because Celestial never took the steps necessary to divorce Roy, he held out hope (justifiably) that his marriage would survive these difficult times.


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

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 174

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RE: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

Roy cannot accept this from his wife - his marriage was all he had - but although I understood his anger, one cannot demand that someone remain in love with you! It then becomes irrational and abusive. If you believe in "for better or for worse" blindly then you agree to stay despite abuse at the worst and loss of love at best, and no one should be forced to stay because of guilt, fear, or even vows. Adding to that the fact that he had broken their vows by cheating - well you may not like it but sometimes you have to accept it.
I felt her pledging to stand by him was partially out of her guilt for moving on with Andre. His rage, while understandable was not acceptable. For me his saving grace was that he did not go thru with what he started in the bedroom and even then I was happy he found love with Davina! I think in the end he came out a much better person for not having Celestial as his wife- and that, to me is a tribute to the writing!


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

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 373

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RE: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

Celestial means that she will continue to put money in his inmate account, her family will continue to support the lawyer and she continues to believe in his innocence. All very belittling to a man with Roy's pride. She will not be visiting and does not consider him to be her husband. It is easy to believe and accept Roy's anger, it is the normal reaction. Celestial then continues to hold out "false hope" by doing nothing to begin divorce proceedings.
Perhaps a sign of her own feelings of guilt.


Posted May. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lilliantpr

Join Date: 01/23/12

Posts: 42

RE: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

I think Celestial is being who she really was. By this statement, she is telling Roy that she no longer wanted to be married to him; but will put money on his books because it’s the “right thing to do.” I believe at this point Celestial has already moved on to her best friend Andre and has dishonored her relationship with Roy.
For Roy, this must have been the worst part of his fateful journey. Celestial wrote this letter instead of telling Roy face to face; which he deserves. She chose the easy way of handling this situation. I do believe that Roy was not wrong to reject her offer. I feel as though he deserved a face to face explanation of her decision. Marriage involves two people, and Celestial made the decision without even discussing it with the other person involved. Roy might have been trying to hold on to their failing marriage because it was the only thing keeping him alive while incarcerated. Roy wasn’t the perfect husband and as a human being, he deserved more than a cowardly letter!


Posted May. 23, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marianned

Join Date: 07/02/15

Posts: 72

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RE: What do you think Celestial means when she says "I will continue to support you, but not as your wife." Do you feel that Roy is right or wrong to reject her offer?

Frankly, I think those were empty words. Maybe Celestial thought she was being gallant by saying she’d stand by Roy, although not as his wife, but what was she really promising? This was another of those empty promises that Celestial and Roy made to each other. Throughout most of their relationship, they play-acted at marriage. They didn’t have a fighting chance, though, because of what happened to Roy so early on.


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