An American Marriage

by

Tayari Jones

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An American Marriage: Part 3, Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Andre’s plan is to make it clear that he and Celestial  aren’t abandoning Roy, even as he breaks the news that they are now engaged. They’ll help him get on his feet in Atlanta. Celestial had wanted Andre to ask for forgiveness, but Andre refuses , preferring to ask for understanding. Andre drives carefully in Louisiana, knowing his nice car combined with the color of his skin make him suspicious to law enforcement.
Andre’s refusal to ask Roy’s forgiveness underscores that he does not believe what he and Celestial are doing is wrong. His apprehension about driving in Louisiana reveals that he is all too aware of the ways black people are discriminated against, especially in light of Roy’s conviction.
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
The Effects of Incarceration Theme Icon
Race and Class Theme Icon
Andre has trouble finding the house without Big Roy’s car parked out front. When he finally does, Big Roy invites him in to eat and tells Andre that Roy has already left for Atlanta. Andre doesn’t have cell service and asks to use Big Roy’s phone, but Big Roy says service was shut off because he was having trouble making ends meet. Big Roy tells Andre he’ll have to stay the night and offers him a drink. He then says it took a year after Olive died for him to be able to sleep through the night.
Roy has taken Big Roy’s Chrysler to Atlanta, causing Andre’s trouble in locating the house. Big Roy manipulates Andre into staying in Eloe and not contacting Celestial, preventing him from warning her that Roy is on his way. Big Roy invoking his dedication to Olive is meant to imply that Andre’s dedication to Celestial doesn’t compare.
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
Parenthood as a Choice Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
Race and Class Theme Icon
Andre asks after Roy, and Big Roy says he’s been doing as well as can be expected. Andre asks why Roy left when he knew Andre was coming for him, and Big Roy says he knows what Andre was coming to tell Roy. Andre says that it’s between him and Roy, but Big Roy says the matter is between Roy and Celestial. Andre claims to know where things stand between him and Celestial, but Big Roy argues that Andre doesn’t know where things stand between Celestial and Roy.
While Andre remains strong in his dedication to Celestial, Big Roy explains that that his feelings are only one side of the love triangle and that Roy and Celestial need to figure out their feelings on their own.
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
The Effects of Incarceration Theme Icon
The phone rings and Andre asks about it being disconnected. Big Roy says he lied, and mocks Andre for thinking he looks like someone who can’t pay his bills. He then asks that Andre not use the phone while he’s staying there so that Celestial has time to work out her feelings for Roy without his influence. He adds that if Celestial needs to talk to Andre, she knows the number.
Big Roy gives Andre a hard time for thinking that he might be financially hard-up, implying an assumed judgment of the way he lives. Big Roy’s comment that Celestial will call Andre if she wants to talk to him underscores that he is not the only person dealing with a sensitive situation and should respect her autonomy.
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
Race and Class Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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