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Steven Harms
English 114B
Professor Topf
26 March 2014
What is Marriage?
Many people have a different idea of what marriage exactly is. Many people
believe that it is a lifelong commitment and they take the meaning of the word forever
seriously. Some take the word to mean a bond between people that can become broken at
any time when two people become bored or dull of one another. I feel that marriage is
something people take for granted and they dont actually mean till death do us part.
This type of attitude can negatively affect their lives, their families lives, and when there
are children involved, this can wreak havoc on their lives and stability. I think that
children of divorce are more likely to have marriages end in divorce as well since that is
the example they had growing up.
My beliefs can best be illustrated in the book The Postmortal by Drew Magary. A
society that has, what the author refers to as The Cure, creates complete disregard for
marriage. The married couples felt that since they could not die of old age, they couldnt
stand the thought of being married to the same person for eternity. The vows they took
when they got married meant nothing and those vows were broken. The problem with
this is my eyes is that this blatant disregard for promises they made could so easily be
broken. What would prevent these people for having the same disregard in their jobs, in
school, caring for a terminally-ill parent? What, they simply get bored or sick of these
responsibilities or promises they made, so they just walk away? What kind of society
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would we be if giving up, breaking promises and walking away were so easy? I think we
would be a lost society with no empathy for one another and a society with no productive
members to make it tick.
I would be remiss if I didnt mention the dreaded divorce attorney. These
lawyers make a fortune on other peoples misfortune and even seem to encourage
walking away and giving up. They get rich off of advising couples that its okay to break
promises made to each other.
We must first ask ourselves why are people getting divorced in the first place?
Are they just getting bored of one another? Or are they seeing that with a long term
relationship people become more interested in other people? To answer these questions
we must first look at an article written by a very well-known psychologist, Alan Booth.
He explains that once a person has come to a certain period of time when people become
sexually dull with one another the people who are in that marriage will go on to look for
other mates. In fact it also talks about how certain animals in the animal kingdom leave
their mate once they have become a certain age. (Booth)
I would also like to address the religious aspect of what I see as disposable
marriages. The Bible describes divorce as a sin. As Christians, we are also taught that if
we do not follow the teachings of The Bible, that we will not have a place in Heaven. Is
this to say that everyone who gets divorced will spend eternity in Hell? Certain religions
do feel this way. I had the opportunity to attend a Christian-based junior high and high
school. We were constantly reminded of this, that if you divorce, this is the ultimate sin
and will be sent to the depths of Hell. Obviously, people that take marriage so lightly do
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not follow the teachings of The Bible and will not be some of the fortunate ones who get
to go to Heaven.
I think the idea of divorce fits-in well with the theory of evolution. The reason I say
that is because we are programmed to mate with multiple partners to help keep our
species alive. In fact, the whole idea of marriage actually goes against what we are
programmed in our DNA to do.
As I reflect back to the book once again, the subjects are getting divorced because
they are living forever. Why would they want to stay with the same partner for hundreds
and hundreds more years when they can just have an endless amount of mates forever
instead of just settling down for one? So what can I make with what the book says? I can
say that I believe the book says divorce is wrong period. The book and the author are
trying to poke fun at how people are so easy to abandon a commitment they are supposed
to have forever.
So is the author, Mr. Magary, using a form of critique in this book to try and show
how silly humanity and the general public can be? Absolutely! I believe he is trying to
poke fun of the world and how we view marriage. The way he describes the population in
the book is that they are lazy, selfish people who are just there to please themselves. He is
trying to parallel their population to ours. He is basically saying that people in the real
world arent trying to fix a problem but rather just throw it away. He is also saying how
selfish we are. For example he talks about how people came barging in to the divorce
attorney to try and get divorced. He is trying to say we dont take what marriage is
seriously. In fact we just take it for granted and if things get to hard or difficult or we just
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want to have fun we can always throw away the marriage and start over again with a
different mate. Its the theory of grass is always greener on the other side.
Which brings me to another point.our litigious-happy society. Divorce attorneys,
for example, get rich from encouraging people to divorce, to give up. So often even the
most amicable separation turns ugly as couple fight over money during the divorce
process. A plate that one spouse thought was the ugliest thing they have ever seen
becomes the center of a heated battle that ends up costing the couple tens of thousands of
dollars in attorney fees. And this is what these lawyers get paid to do.
In todays economic times, unfortunately the divorce rates are climbing drastically.
For example a recent article in the New York Times addressed this issue explaining that
in times of economic turmoil, the divorce rate actually increases. This article shows that
stress and financial matters could be the cause of divorce in this time period, but how
does that relate to the book? Could living forever with the same person and enduring
serious, financial woes be putting too much stress on people that they have to get a
divorce or else they will go crazy? The answer is absolutely. People now feel forced to
stay with their partner forever and weather the storm instead of doing as they please, even
possibly cheating with someone else. Of course, sometimes a couple facing financial and
economic struggles can play a huge part on a couples ability to stay together. Again, I
have to question the commitment that people should have toward one another. After all,
in most marriage vows, dont people promise that they will stay together in times of
sickness and health, for richer, for poorer?
This book plays a very close similarity to real life in fact I think that the author is
bringing up very good points in the book. The first point he brings up is the fact that the
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cure cost so much money. Why would the author bring up something like that so close to
the main problem in the book? The reason is too show what causes divorces in this book
is also what causes divorces in the real world. The author is trying get through the
readers head in amore efficient way than just telling him what is wrong. Instead the
author wants the reader to think. Why would the author do that you might ask? Well the
reason is because it is very effective to get the reader thinking to fully deliver a message.
The next is the factor of stress. The book clearly shows that stress is relevant in
this book. For example it shows how fast people are getting a divorce in this book right
when the cure was causing controversy. The way that the characters who are getting the
divorce are talking shows that they are in a high stressed out situation and dont know
another way to handle this instead of divorce.
With all this said, I feel the need to also point out cultural differences regarding
marriage. In our culture, the Western culture, we marry for love. Yet the Eastern
cultures still practice arranged marriages and have for centuries. Yet, divorce is more
predominant in our Western culture. India boasts the lowest percentage of divorce in the
world, and they are also one of the leading countries of arranged marriages. In India,
divorce is so frowned upon that women who have had the intentions to divorce have been
met with physical violence. In the United States, I feel that we make it too easy to give
up, too easy to walk away from children, from responsibilities. In arranged marriages,
divorce is not an option. Are these people happier though knowing there is no option? I
think they are happier because they find the best in one another and learn to work
together through problems instead of throwing in the towel at the first sign of adversity.
In addition, I feel that since the parents in countries where arranged marriages are the
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norm are the ones responsible for choosing the appropriate mates, the married couple
makes the relationship work out of respect for the parents that put them together in the
first place. Again, this provides a more stable family environment for all the people
involved, but most importantly the children.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that divorce is completely wrong in the first place. I
have personally come from a family where divorce and the idea of divorce has prevailed
pretty heavily. I have to agree with the author and say that people in this book and in real
life are far too lazy and instead of trying to fix an issue people just try to through it away
like trash. I believe that people dont truly want to be with the same mate forever like
they say at the beginning of their marriage. Instead people just want to have fun and the
words they speak during the marriage ceremony are just words to them. Whether it is
an arranged marriage, a marriage out of love, a marriage of convenience or a marriage
forever because the people never grow old people need to keep their promises and vows
once made to one another. People and relationships are not disposable. Treating
marriage as such is simply selfish. There are so many people that are effected by a
couples choice to walk away from their marriage. Parents, grandparents, co-workers,
friends and most of all, their children are all effected. What will throwing away a, once
precious, relationship do to them? What will it teach them? I will tell youit teaches
them to give up on things when the going gets tough. When a job is too challenging or
stressful, give up, when a sport is too difficult to perfect, just quit! And when your
marriage is going through a rough patch, walk away and find someone better. This is
why I think getting a divorce is too easy and simplywrong.
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Work Cited

Banks, John. "Divorce, Separations and Annulments." - News, 16 Mar. 2014. Web. 16
Mar. 2014.

Booth, Alan, and John N. Edwards. JSTOR. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

"Coping With Divorce, Single Parenting, and Remarriage: A Risk and Resiliency
..."Google Books. Web. 16 Mar. 2014

Kim, Hyun Sik. JSTOR.. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

Magary, Drew. The Postmortal: A Novel. New York: Penguin, 2011. Print.

Lee, Ji Hyun. "Modern Lessons From Arranged Marriages." The New York Times. The
New York Times, 19 Jan. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

Meikle, James. "Divorces on Rise among Over-60s." Theguardian.com. Guardian News
and Media, 07 Aug. 2013. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.

"The Divorce Revolution: The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for
Women and Children in Am ... | POPLINE.org." The Divorce Revolution: The
Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for Women and Children in Am ... |
POPLINE.org.Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
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