An American Marriage

by

Tayari Jones

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An American Marriage: Part 3, Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Andre arrives home to find Roy chopping away at Old Hickey. Roy lodges the ax in the tree. Celestial goes to Andre and he asks her if she’s okay. Roy answers for her that she’s fine, and Andre asks how he and Roy can squash the conflict. Roy apologizes for hurting the tree and asks what it was that made Andre decide to pursue Celestial, disregarding his respect for Roy. Andre tells him that’s not how it happened, but Roy responds that it’s between him and Andre. Andre insists it is between the three of them. The neighbor pretends not to eavesdrop from across the street.
Celestial’s allegiance seems to clearly lie with Andre upon his arrival. Andre tries to resolve the situation and Roy calms down enough to apologize for attacking Old Hickey, but he still addresses his feelings of Andre having betrayed him. Roy blames Andre entirely for his marriage being in tatters, but Andre knows that his relationship with Celestial started only when she made the first move. He doesn’t tell Roy this, knowing it would hurt his friend, showing that Andre is still hoping to protect Roy.
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
The Effects of Incarceration Theme Icon
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 his territory in this way. Celestial argues that she’s not territory. Roy says he’s trying to be fair, but he is fixated on his innocence and Andre and Celestial’s apparent lack of sympathy for his situation. Andre says he knows this could happen to anyone. Celestial says they thought and talked about him every day.
Andre placing his arm around Celestial in front of Roy echoes the couple holding hands in Big Roy’s company earlier, as well as Big Roy’s asking them not to. Since the beginning of their relationship, Roy has seen Celestial as something he might possess, while Andre has seen Celestial as someone who would never be possessed by anyone—a sentiment more in line with Celestial’s own strong conception of self .
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
The Effects of Incarceration Theme Icon
Andre tells Roy that he has to accept that he and Celestial are together now. Roy tells Celestial to go inside, but she refuses, saying this is her life too. Andre says they don’t keep secrets and Roy tells him to ask Celestial about last night. Her expression is blank, and they talk her into letting them speak privately. After she disappears inside, Roy accuses Andre of pursuing Celestial because she was convenient “pussy.” Offended, Andre stands and tells Roy that’s enough.
While Roy continues to argue the details of why Andre and Celestial are together, Andre indicates that those details don’t matter once two people have decided to be together. Love isn’t something that you can reason your way out of. The implication of Roy’s comment about the previous night indicates that they slept together, despite the fact that they did not consummate their reunion. Roy, still trying to save the marriage, begins to make insulting comments to get a rise out of Andre.
Themes
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Andre says that Celestial doesn’t belong to Roy and if he doesn’t understand that, Roy should punch him and get it over with. Roy says that Celestial doesn’t belong to Andre either, and Andre turns to walk away. Roy hits him from behind. Andre thinks about how Carlos told him to take the hits. They struggle with each other. Andre wonders if Roy learned to fight this way in prison. Andre falls to the ground and Roy tells him to apologize, his foot poised in the air.
Roy’s attack on Andre isn’t a fair first shot, reflecting his immense anger and perhaps belief that Andre does not deserve an honorable fight. When Andre wonders if Roy learned to fight this way in prison, it’s clear again that Andre, like Celestial, has made assumptions about how Roy has been changed by incarceration.
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
The Effects of Incarceration Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Andre can’t bring himself to apologize to Roy. He’s not sorry for his love of Celestial, but he feels pity for all of the people who suffer in different ways, especially Roy. He reflects on how someone always pays for what happens, even if it’s not the person who deserves to.
Andre’s refusal to apologize resonates with his refusal of Celestial’s earlier request that they ask Roy to forgive them. Instead of being sorry to Roy, he is sorry for him, refusing to accept that his love of Celestial could be wrong.
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
Parenthood as a Choice Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
The Effects of Incarceration Theme Icon
Race and Class Theme Icon
Related Quotes