Theme Of Marriage In Dorothy West's The Wedding

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Marriage, ideally, is love. Shakespeare ended all his comedies with happy weddings, yet Dorothy West does neither in The Wedding. For a novel titled The Wedding, there is a decided absence of an actual wedding ceremony, although that does not mean the novel is devoid of marriage. Nearly every of-age character in the novel is wedded, yet as the generations go by, the circumstances of marriage begin to drift farther away from its traditional association with love. The union of Isaac and the schoolteacher embody how love and marriage are not mutually inclusive in The Wedding. Isaac and the schoolteacher marry out of convenience and treat their relationship as a self-serving social construct that has no true function outside of the label “husband …show more content…
“When she could no longer deny that their relationship was hollow as a reed, she still preferred a public appearance on the arm of a doctor to a private, secret place where love could lie beside her,” allowing the external glamor to overshadow and compensate for the internal hollowness of their marriage (154). The schoolteacher even concedes that outward social appearance is a priority over true love. Part of her yearns a husband that is more than just a husband in name, but another part of her is simply looking out for her reputation and pride. On the arm of her husband, the schoolteacher “did not look rejected, [so] she supposed she did not feel rejected” (154). She displaces the lack of love and affection with the benefits of the title, wealth, and prestige that come with being Mrs. Dr. Coles. Her marriage gives her a presence in the society pages and prominence among the rich elite. Moreover, the schoolteacher’s elevated social position is accompanied by lavish parties and opulent galas that funnel into philanthropic efforts meant to distract her from her place as “a fifth wheel” in her own household (155). “Organizing a charity ball gave her a feeling of purpose, an expectation that the end would justify the effort,” feelings meant to offset the general emptiness of her home life (160). From humble schoolteacher to blossoming socialite, she manipulates her loveless marriage to serve her own

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