An American Marriage

by

Tayari Jones

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on An American Marriage can help.

An American Marriage: Part 3, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Roy notes that Celestial’s looks are different—she’s sadder, and her scent has changed too. He reflects on how welcoming and comforting Davina had been when he first got out. Celestial asks how he feels and he tells her she could say she’s glad to see him. She tells him she’s happy he’s been released and 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 happened while he was gone, but he does care about what their future is. Celestial lets Roy kiss her all over, and he says he’ll forgive her if she asks him to.
Like her house, Celestial’s appearance is different, suggesting that the changes that have occurred in the time Roy has been gone are significant. Even when Celestial confirms that she is with Andre now, Roy continues to hope that their relationship might be reconciled moving forward, willing to overlook anything that happened in the time he was away. His brief recollection of the comfort of Davina, however, foreshadows his ultimate return to her.
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
The Effects of Incarceration Theme Icon
Someone rings the doorbell and both Celestial and Roy jump. Tamar 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 inviting Tamar inside and disappearing into the kitchen. Tamar tells Roy that Jelani taught himself to crawl and Roy asks if the baby takes after her husband. Tamar says she’s single but that the baby looks very much like his father.
The arrival of Tamar and Jelani is significant for the way it provides Roy and Celestial with an image of what their life might be like if they’d had the baby Celestial was pregnant with at the time of Roy’s arrest.
Themes
Love and Marriage in Crisis Theme Icon
Parenthood as a Choice Theme Icon
Race and Class Theme Icon
Roy asks if he can hold the baby and picks him up. He thinks about whether this is about how old he was when Big Roy made him his junior. Celestial returns with champagne flutes, and Celestial and Tamar talk about fabric while Roy entertains Jelani. He thinks about how his child with Celestial would be four or five now, and how Celestial wouldn’t be with Andre if they’d had their baby.
Though Roy’s own father ran away when Olive was pregnant, Roy believes that Celestial wouldn’t have started an affair with Andre if she and Roy had had a child. Beyond thinking about his own potential child, he is reminded of the love and dedication that Big Roy showed in accepting Roy as his own son. 
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
Related Quotes