An American Marriage

by

Tayari Jones

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Celestial’s best friend since childhood Roy’s friend since college. Andre is shorter than Roy, with a slighter build and lighter skin. Though he has loved Celestial all his life, he is initially supportive of her relationship with Roy. He does not make the first move while Roy is in jail, instead allowing Celestial to pursue him. He has a fraught relationship with his father, Carlos, who abandoned him and his mother, Evie, when Andre was young. By the end of the novel, however, their relationship has healed somewhat, and Andre seeks his father’s advice regarding his relationship with Celestial. Andre has a slightly more progressive view of relationships than Roy, understanding that no one will ever “possess” Celestial and supporting her independent streak even as he longs to be her husband.

Andre Quotes in An American Marriage

The An American Marriage quotes below are all either spoken by Andre or refer to Andre. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Algonquin edition of An American Marriage published in 2018.
Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

Grandmamma would tell Evie to hush and remind her that getting left by a man was not the worst thing that ever happened to somebody. And Evie would say, “It’s the worst thing that ever happened to me.” She said it so much that she came down with lupus. “God wanted me to see what misery really was,” Evie said. I didn’t like all this God talk, like He was up there toying with us. I preferred more of the tenderness and acceptance my grandmother promised in her hymns. I told this to Evie when I was a little boy and she said, “You got to work with the god you were given.”

You also have to work with the love you are given, with all of the complications clanging behind it like tin cans tied to a bridal sedan.

Related Characters: Andre (speaker), Roy Hamilton Jr., Celestial Davenport, Carlos , Evie
Page Number: 102-103
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

“I’m ready. But I can’t lie. Sometimes I feel guilty as hell for just being able to live my life.”

I didn’t have to tell him that I understood, because he knew that I did. There should be a word for this, the way it feels to steal something that’s already yours.

Related Characters: Celestial Davenport (speaker), Andre (speaker), Roy Hamilton Jr., Franklin Davenport
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

We laughed, a real laugh, a shared laugh. This is when our life changed. We came to each other with joy on our lips. What came next may not have been legally binding; there was no clergyman or witness. But it was ours.

Related Characters: Andre (speaker), Celestial Davenport
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 10 Quotes

Now Mr. Davenport was loyal to Roy above his own daughter. In a way, the whole black race was loyal to Roy, a man just down from the cross.

Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

“You say you want my advice. Here’s what I have. Tell the truth. Don’t try to cushion the blow. If you’re bad enough to do it, you’re bad enough to tell it. You can ask you mama. She’ll tell you she was so unhappy because I didn’t drop lies into her morning coffee. The whole time she knew exactly who she was married to.”

Related Characters: Carlos (speaker), Roy Hamilton Jr., Andre, Evie
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2, Chapter 12 Quotes

“Is it love, or is it convenience?” Gloria asked me that Thanksgiving Day after my father had stormed upstairs and Andre went to gather our coats. She explained that convenience, habit, comfort, obligation—these are all things that wear the same clothing as love sometimes. Did I think this thing with Andre was maybe too easy? He is literally the boy next door.

Related Characters: Celestial Davenport (speaker), Andre, Gloria Davenport
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3, Chapter 1 Quotes

You know what else they say? What do you call a black man with a PhD? The same thing you call one driving a high-end SUV.

Related Characters: Andre (speaker)
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3, Chapter 5 Quotes

The son that Celestial and I didn’t have would have been four or five, I think. If a kindergartener slept in the backroom, there is no way Celestial would be talking about how she’s with Andre now. I would say, “A boy need his father.” This is a scientific fact. There wouldn’t be anything else to talk about.

But as things were, there was a lot to talk about, more words than could fit into my mouth.

Related Characters: Roy Hamilton Jr. (speaker), Celestial Davenport, Andre
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3, Chapter 10 Quotes

Have you ever stared fury in its eyes? There is no saving yourself from a man in its throes. Roy’s face was haunted and wild. The cords of his neck muscles were like cables; his lips made a hard gash. The unceasing blows were fueled by a need to hurt me that was greater than his own need for oxygen or even freedom. His need to hurt me was greater even than my own desire to survive. My efforts to protect myself where ritualistic, mannered, and symbolic, while his fists, feet, and needs were operating from a brutal code.

Related Characters: Andre (speaker), Roy Hamilton Jr.
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

But I was sorry. Not for what was between Celestial and me, I would never regret that. I was sorry for a lot of things. I was sorry for Evie, suffering from lupus for so many years. I was sorry for elephants killed for their ivory. I was sorry for Carlos, who traded one family for another. I was sorry for everyone in the world because we all had to die and nobody knew what happened after that. I was sorry for Celestial, who was probably watching from the window. Most of all, I was sorry for Roy. The last time I saw him on that morning before his mother’s wake, he said, “I never had a chance, did I? I only thought I did.”

Related Characters: Andre (speaker), Roy Hamilton Jr., Celestial Davenport, Carlos , Evie
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3, Chapter 11 Quotes

But he only turned toward Old Hickey. “It’s too much.” Then quickly—it must have been quickly—but I somehow took notice of each move, Roy tucked his lips against his teeth, gripped the tree like a brother, and then tipped his head back, presenting his face to the sky before driving his forehead against the ancient bark. The sound was muted, like the wet crack of an egg against the kitchen floor. He did it again, harder this time.

Related Characters: Celestial Davenport (speaker), Roy Hamilton Jr., Andre
Related Symbols: Old Hickey
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire An American Marriage LitChart as a printable PDF.
An American Marriage PDF

Andre Character Timeline in An American Marriage

The timeline below shows where the character Andre appears in An American Marriage. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
...the ice bucket. He knows that in the meantime Celestial will call her childhood friend Andre, who introduced Roy to Celestial in college. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
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...Roy calling out their safe word and leaving the room, and her subsequent call to Andre. He tells her not to be angry every time Roy tries to come clean. Celestial... (full context)
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...Roy in college. After one bad year at Howard, Celestial transfers to Spelman. Roy and Andre are next door neighbors in their dorm room at Morehouse, and Celestial sometimes sleeps over... (full context)
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Celestial doesn’t meet Roy until a month later when he barges into Andre’s room unannounced. He is cordial, but Celestial notes that something about Roy is dangerous and... (full context)
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The day before the trial, Celestial cuts off Andre’s dreadlocks. Everyone in the family dresses to look their most “innocent” during the trial. When... (full context)
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...on the top of his visitors list and that he’ll put Dre (a nickname for Andre) on the list, too. He thanks her for putting money in his commissary account and... (full context)
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...looking at her, but she also can’t stop making them. She tells Roy that only Andre knows about the abortion. He took her to the appointment and reminded her that this... (full context)
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...Roy and encloses a few photos: some old photos and some new ones taken by Andre. Dre has a new girlfriend who is only twenty-one. She tells Roy that she’s put... (full context)
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...that she didn’t tell him about because she didn’t want to worry him. She and Andre were walking to get food after setting up a show, and she was tired and... (full context)
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...that he was recently promoted from picking soybeans to picking up trash. He asks if Andre was at the award ceremony. (full context)
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...honor that she was being awarded. She tells him she won’t dignify his question about Andre with a response. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
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Andre believes that his current situation is comparable to being married to a widow. He knows... (full context)
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Andre reflects on how, upon his parents divorced when he was seven, Celestial volunteered Franklin to... (full context)
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After high school, they went to separate schools: Andre to Morehouse in Atlanta and Celestial to Howard in D.C., before Celestial returned home from... (full context)
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Roy asked Andre if there was anything happening between him and Celestial and Andre confirmed there was not.... (full context)
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In the present, Andre comes home from work one day to find Celestial drinking wine at the kitchen table.... (full context)
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Celestial asks Andre what they’ll do, and Andre says their first obligation is to tell Roy. They have... (full context)
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Later that night, Celestial finally calls out to Andre. She tells him to come to bed, and he embraces her. He asks her what... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
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...take two years for the plants to fully join. On Thanksgiving, she wakes up wearing Andre’s ring, making her a woman with both a husband and a fiancé. She can’t bear... (full context)
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Celestial reflects on Franklin’s dedication to his experiments and his stubborn opposition to her and Andre. While he had initially favored Dre for Celestial over Roy, he can’t support the way... (full context)
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As Andre and Celestial climb the stairs of the porch, Aunt Sylvia comes outside. Though technically not... (full context)
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...will be released before Christmas. Sylvia, Uncle Banks, and Gloria celebrate, but Franklin says nothing. Andre stands to announce that he’s asked Celestial to marry him. Franklin asks her what she... (full context)
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Franklin chastises Andre for taking advantage of a situation where his friend Roy is being held as a... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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Big Roy says he hasn’t seen Celestial since she attended Olive’s funeral with Andre. Roy mentions that his cellmate was an older man named Walter who looked out for... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6
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In a flashback to the Sunday before Olive’s funeral, Andre goes to visit Roy in prison while Celestial stays with Big Roy. There, Roy asks... (full context)
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...hymn at Olive’s funeral. In the limo on the way to the cemetery, Celestial takes Andre’s hand, prompting Big Roy to ask that they not do that. He says he loved... (full context)
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...realize she doesn’t know what it means to be truly committed to someone. She and Andre return to the church and eat the meal prepared by the congregation. They sense people... (full context)
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Celestial tells Andre that Olive would hit her when she went too long without visiting Roy. She says... (full context)
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The two arrive at a hotel, where a woman refers to Andre and Celestial as newlyweds because of the way they hold one another. Celestial invites Andre... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
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Andre calls Big Roy’s house and is surprised when Roy answers. When he says, “We weren’t... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10
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Andre tells the story, in flashback, of when he was sixteen and thought his mother Evie... (full context)
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On his way to pick up Roy, Andre wishes he could talk to Carlos. He thinks about Mr. Davenport and how he’s been... (full context)
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Andre stops at Carlos’s house and reminds him of what he’d said about visiting. Though Carlos... (full context)
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Andre tells Carlos that he’s getting married. His father asks who he’s marrying, and Andre is... (full context)
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Carlos tells Andre that he has to be honest with Roy. Guessing that Roy will get physical, he... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 12
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On Thanksgiving, Gloria asked Celestial if her decision to be with Andre is based on love or convenience. Celestial views the situation as anything but convenient. Andre... (full context)
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...her father, impulsive and little bit selfish, but that not enough women have these qualities. Andre empathizes with Roy’s position, knowing he won’t be able to walk back into his professional... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 13
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...Roy’s account. He tells Walter that he hopes he’ll have two days with Celestial without Andre there so that they can figure out what to do. He tells Walter he’s putting... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
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Andre’s plan is to make it clear that he and Celestial  aren’t abandoning Roy, even as... (full context)
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Andre has trouble finding the house without Big Roy’s car parked out front. When he finally... (full context)
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Andre asks after Roy, and Big Roy says he’s been doing as well as can be... (full context)
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The phone rings and Andre asks about it being disconnected. Big Roy says he lied, and mocks Andre for thinking... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
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...she became accustomed to his ghost. On Christmas Eve, Celestial goes to work after sending Andre to Atlanta to talk to Roy. Her store is located in a high-end area of... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
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...she didn’t change the locks. He helps her with her groceries and she tells him Andre is on his way to pick Roy up. Roy says that Dre isn’t who he... (full context)
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...wants to hear the truth from her and he asks her if she is with Andre. Celestial replies that it isn’t yes or no. Roy lays his head in her lap. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 5
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...asks if he’s eaten, but she doesn’t have anything to cook. Roy asks again about Andre and Celestial confirms that she is with Andre now. Roy says he doesn’t care what... (full context)
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...is at the door with her baby Jelani, saying he wants to see his uncle Andre. She asks if Celestial is all right and then sees Roy. Celestial introduces them before... (full context)
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...child with Celestial would be four or five now, and how Celestial wouldn’t be with Andre if they’d had their baby. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
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...Celestial’s successful daughter. When Celestial takes out her phone, Roy asks her not to call Andre yet so that he can speak his piece. He guides her hands around his face,... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
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...her he doesn’t know what to do. She tells him to sleep and asks if Andre and Celestial were together when he arrived, since she once saw them getting drunk at... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8
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Andre sleeps on the couch and Big Roy on his recliner chair, as if Andre needs... (full context)
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In the morning, Big Roy tells Andre that Andre wants Celestial, but he doesn’t need her like Roy does. Big Roy recommends... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 9
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...a sign of hope. He roots around in the cabinets, trying to find signs of Andre, but it’s clear he doesn’t live there. He scrubs himself. (full context)
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...anything. Celestial says she has to go to work, but Roy wants to talk before Andre returns home. Celestial says he already knows everything, but Roy protests that he knows what... (full context)
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...for him and promises to leave her life forever if she doesn’t. She responds that Andre should be home any minute, and Roy says he didn’t ask about Andre. She refuses... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 10
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Andre arrives home to find Roy chopping away at Old Hickey. Roy lodges the ax in... (full context)
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Celestial sits on the bench beneath Old Hickey between the two men. Andre puts his arm around her and Roy tells him that he doesn’t need to mark... (full context)
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Andre tells Roy that he has to accept that he and Celestial are together now. Roy... (full context)
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Andre says that Celestial doesn’t belong to Roy and if he doesn’t understand that, Roy should... (full context)
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Andre can’t bring himself to apologize to Roy. He’s not sorry for his love of Celestial,... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 11
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Celestial wonders why she left Roy and Andre outside. By the time she gets to the window, the men are wrestling each other... (full context)
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...blocks him from doing it again. He asks how all of this happened and what Andre and Celestial want him to do. (full context)
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Andre tells Roy they’ll help him get set up and presents the option of Roy staying... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 12
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Celestial arrives at Andre’s house at 1:00 a.m., wishing him a merry Christmas. He hands her a glass of... (full context)
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Andre tells Celestial to go and reminds her that she’s the one making the choice. He... (full context)
Epilogue
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...he was saved in the dark of their bedroom. He expresses his shame at hurting Andre, and says he knows Andre hadn’t fought him back with all his strength—making him wonder... (full context)
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...can get to know each other again some day. She tells Roy that she and Andre are in no rush to get married and are happy the way they are. Celestial... (full context)