Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Indissoluble Matrimony" Rebecca West

         In Rebecca West’s “Indissoluble Matrimony,” we are introduced to two characters that over the course of their ten year marriage have not only grown apart but have developed hatred toward each other. This raises the question of whether they should have ever gotten married to begin with. George Silverton’s hatred and disdain for his wife Evadne is evident in the opening paragraph when she is described as “one of those women who create an illusion alternately of extreme beauty and extreme ugliness” (p. 98). Furthermore, as he looks back to the days when he use to court Evadne it becomes clear that George had always had a fear of marriage and disgust for women: “The thought of intimacy with some lovely, desirable and necessary wife turned him sick as he sat at his lunch” (p 100). George had gone into this marriage with a subconscious distrust of the institution and his wife who he believes had lured him into marrying her.
         On the other hand Evadne is a strong, smart, and assertive woman who despite her husbands attempts to stop her from giving a speech for the Socialist party, she insists upon attending. Yet while she is stubborn, she takes the passive aggressive side when George blows his anger, or accuses her of cheating. While he looks for a way out of their marriage she looks for a way to save it.
          There is no communication or a healthy way to release your anger and frustrations. Their relationship, therefore, has become a bubble and the longer two people live in that bubble, the bigger it grows until one day it bursts. That perhaps may have been the reality of a marriage in a time when what was traditional was no longer a reality. Women were beginning to speak out and desire to become more than wife, or a mother, while many men, like George, struggled accept it or to even get use to it. Perhaps what had ruined their marriage was neither of their faults but an inevitable result of something bigger, change of status quo, dawn of feminism, the beginning of modernism. 


  1. When I was a newspaper reporter in my mid-20s, living in the Mississippi Delta, I came across a copy of The Harsh Voice in the Greenwood, MS public library and promptly devoured it. Still such a distinct memory from that distant yet strangely evocative time . . .

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  5. Hello! I have a few questioons, as we are doing this piece in my capstone class. I am interested in the last sentance you posted about status quo being what caused their seperation. What evidence can you point to that supports this