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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 the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

Created: 04/09/19

Replies: 12

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

The title of this novel is An American Marriage. Do you feel this title accurately represents the novel? Why or why not? And if you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?


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

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 83

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RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

I thought it was a good title and it was a good representation in many ways; first, in that it was a relationship between people from different classes which probably still happens here more than in some other countries.
Also what happened to Roy could happen elsewhere but seems more likely to occur here.


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

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 146

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RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly

I think the title doesn’t accurately represent the novel. I’m not sure the tangled relationship between Roy and Celestial is representative of marriage in “American” culture as much as a generational marital conflict at odds with traditional marital expectations. I had a preconceived idea about the book as a result of the title. I thought the story would be about a stable marriage enduring prolonged separation.


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

Join Date: 03/25/13

Posts: 28

RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

I think the title is correct for this story line and these characters. I was certainly angry about the fact that Roy was wrongly accused and sent to prison but this does happen regularly. Ms. Jones talks about the fact that the men in her world are "under siege" and that is absolutely true. The letter from the author at the end of the book really brings the title and the story full circle.


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 the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

I did not thing the title represented the book.


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

Join Date: 05/12/16

Posts: 25

RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

The marriage of Roy and Celestial was passionate as newlyweds but it could be tested as he might not always be faithful. Their backgrounds were different and that could also test the relationship even if both were successful.
Olive and Big Roy had the ideal marriage -strong, supportive and lasting.
Franklin was married when Gloria became his mistress. Andre has an affair with Celestial while she is still married. Carlos left his bride and young son for another as did Walter.
Andre and Celestial are to have a child but not marry. I assume Banks and Sylvia lived together but were not married (p.116 Sylvia was Celestial's matron of honor, although technically she wasn't a married woman.)
I felt the title accurately represented the novel as several types of modern American marriages were portrayed. Not all American marriages are ideal.


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

Join Date: 10/15/14

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RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly

Nancy, above, does a fine job recalling the various marital situations depicted in this novel. Obviously the definition of marriage, as these situations suggest, has changed greatly over the past two-three decades, and for this reason alone, I believe the title accurately represents the novel. I believe many of the situations depicted can and do occur in American marriages today regardless of black, white, or a combination of races involved. That further supports the title. One final issue that is apparent, is the fact that Roy is black, and he is unfairly treated by the justice system - a situation which most like occurs far too frequently in this country. This, without a doubt adds great credibility to the novel's title - probably makes it , unfortunately, too typical in American marriage.


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

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 46

RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

I do feel that the title is an appropriate one and I have to agree that Nancy couldn't have said it any better for justifying the inclusion of the word American in the title of this novel.


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

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 102

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RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

When reading this book I mainly focused on Roy and Celestial's marriage which I don't think represented an American marriage. But if you include the other marriages in the story as nancyn did then the title was appropriate because there was a wide variety of American marriages represented in this story.


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

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 153

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RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

As nancyn put it this is a novel about many different American Marriages, but this particular one is more likely to be labeled a Black American Marriage. As with "If Beale Street Could Talk" this story of wrongful imprisonment is much more likely to happen to a black man (or woman) in America than any white man/couple. The inequities in the American legal system are glaring and horrific and something the rest of us can only try to envision. It is such an important story and the more ways (movies, novels, documentaries) that are out there for us to learn from the better!


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

Join Date: 11/18/14

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RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly

Although I do not particularly like the title because it feels so broad and a bit generic, it does reflect the essence of the book. Tayari Jones reminds us that this is a love story. There are too many men of color serving time in American prisons for crimes they did not commit and left behind are wives and children caught in a seemingly endless loop - unable to move their lives forward in any meaningful way and often unable to control their futures or the futures of their imprisoned husbands.


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

Join Date: 01/23/12

Posts: 42

RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly

I really think that the title An American Marriage represents the novel and is appropriate. Although there is a variety of marriages presented throughout the novel, the title might be specifically referring to Roy and Celestial's marriage, an upwardly mobile African-American couple whose young marriage is ripped apart by wrongful incarceration based on the American justice.

What makes it particularly "American" is the way the American court system has the authority to bring together a couple in marriage but in the same way it can break apart a marriage by a wrongful verdict as in the case of Roy. There are many Roy's out there, we can't deny it. This can be anyone's American story.


Posted Jul. 02, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bill

Join Date: 05/25/17

Posts: 5

RE: Do you feel the title accurately represents the novel? If you do find the title appropriate, what about the story makes it particularly "American"?

What is an American marriage? Although Roy and Celestial's marriage is obviously the one most discussed, there are a number of others, as pointed out by Nancy, in the book, which all take place in America. However, couldn't all of the types of marriage relationships occurred in other countries?


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