Individuals get married for a number of reasons most of which are as different from each other as day is from the night. By observation, most of these reasons have come to be documented in various pieces of writing either directly or hidden within other forms of social writing. This essay seeks to analyze a few of such reasons under the guidance of three readings. These readings are a play titled On tidy endings by Harvey Fierstein, the poem Advice to my son by Peter Meinke and Safe, a play by Cherylene Lee.
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In his poem, Peter Meinke advised his son to make the best of life by having all the fun possible. This, he says, is because life is very short and brittle and it can break any time. In the same breath, he tells his son to plan for the future because he may end up living longer and making arrangements for the long-term will help make his life comfortable on earth (Meinke 447). One of the proposals that Meinke suggests to include in the long-term plan is marriage.
He advises his son to first look at a girl’s mother before settling down with the daughter. Though he does not expound further, it is easy for the reader to see why Meinke advices his son thus. First, most of the phenotypical characteristics are inherited. Therefore, if the parents are good looking, it is most likely that the children will also share the same good looks (Meinke 447). Secondly, children tend to get most of their character tendencies from their parents.
Therefore, if a mother has desirable character qualities, there is a high likelihood that the daughter picked up the same admirable traits. In essence, the mother makes the daughter (Meinke 447). In a way Meinke tries to illustrate that marriage is one of the major life decisions for everyone.
This is mainly because during the selection of a marriage partner there is the possibility that at least one of the two individuals will spend the rest of his/her life with the person chosen. Meinke, therefore, advised his son and indeed any other reader to choose carefully and not rush into a commitment without first considering its implications (Meinke 447).
Harvey Fierstein principally suggests that marriage is one of the sources of happiness in life. He, being a homosexual, supports the right of the individual to choose whom to marry and regards heterosexual and homosexual marriages as having similar strengths and weaknesses (Fierstein 463-481). By the story revolving around a certain man whose partner dies with AIDS, the author tries to illustrate how comforting it is to have a wife or husband by someone’s death bed (Clum 28).
After the death of Collin Redding, Arnold Beckoff builds a relationship with his fallen partner’s ex-wife, Marion Redding and the two are able to comfort each other following the death (Fierstein 465). By this, Fierstein sufficiently passes across the message that marriage provides both parties with a shoulder to lean on whenever calamity strikes as it is evident that Beckoff could not sufficiently cope with his partner’s death without another person by his side ( Clum 28).
In essence, Fierstein tries to illustrate that marriage is mainly for companionship as it provides persons with someone to talk to and share the challenges of life (Fierstein 463-481). A person by one’s side makes even the greatest of sorrows easily manageable as has is evident from the play. From the way the plot develops in the play, Fierstein also confirms that individuals get married to fulfill societal expectations.
In most societies, the moment a child is born, his or her life is charted in such a way that a number of important life stages are assigned to his or her future (Clum 28).
Marriage is among these life stages and once an individual gets to a certain age, he/she is expected to find someone and settle down to raise a family with. In modern days, homosexual marriages have come to be regarded as socially acceptable forms of marriage and with the flexibility in adoption laws such individuals can lead a productive married life like their heterosexual counterparts (Fierstein 463-481).
In her publication, Safe, Cherylene Lee tries to illustrate that relationships are modeled by events happening in the world surrounding an individual. Most of the characters in Lee’s publication are presented in such a way that they help explore how individuals establish a balance between the family demands and personal desires (Cherylene 423). The story revolves around a Chinese family with overprotective parents who totally detest the idea of interracial marriage.
The parents are extremely traditional and would like their children to go through the old systems of arranged marriages. Lee tries to illustrate that it is advisable to marry someone you can get along with irrespective of whether he or she meets the criteria established by their families (Cherylene 425). She also, though subtly admits that individuals sometimes have a difference of opinion but she agrees that this is okay as it serves to enhance the communication process between the two individuals.
A well-working couple is able to embrace change easily and the individuals find it easy to deal with challenges in their homes once they get to understand each other. Lee further stresses the fact that parents will always have plans and dreams for their children’s futures and the children may have their own dreams which may or may not be in tandem with those of their guardians (Cherylene 426). In this situation, she suggests that children try to establish their individuality and especially when it comes to choosing life partners.
From Lee’s play, it can be established that most families especially those that are inherently traditional have some reservations towards members of different cultural origins (Cherylene 423-426). It is only by intermarriage that such apprehension can be appropriately dealt with since this form brings together individuals with different backgrounds and provides the opportunity for them to understand each other.
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In the three pieces of literature, various reasons for getting married have been proposed. However, these messages have not exactly been presented in a direct manner and it would require the reader to critically analyze various statements and character presentations in order to isolate these points.
This essay has served as a compilation of these reasons and has been keen to ensure fairness by not laying bias towards heterosexual relationships but has instead defined marriage as a decision between two people (irrespective of their gender orientation) to live together as husband and wife within the confines of the law.
Clum, J. M. Still acting gay: male homosexuality in modern drama. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000. Print.
Harvey, Fierstein. “On tidy endings”. Reading Literature & Writing Argument. Eds.
Missy, James and Alan Merickel. pp. 463-481. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.
Lee, Cherylene. “Safe”. Reading Literature & Writing Argument. Eds. Missy, James and Alan Merickel. pp. 423. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.
Meinke, Peter. “Advice to my son”. Reading Literature & Writing Argument. Eds. Missy, James and Alan Merickel. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2008. p. 447. Print.