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“Marriage” by Gregory Corso, Essay Example

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Essay

The poem ‘Marriage’ by Gregory Corso is a comic narrative where he is the main character who thinks about his prospects of marriage. Further, he attempts to think cautiously about all the projected scenarios he may experience and tries to make the most appropriate decision of whether to marry or continue with a bachelor’s life (Beckstrand, n.p). The author uses a scientific approach to solve the dilemma by tabling out all his choices, and then mimics each choice in mind to understand the impact of the decisions.  These thoughts quest the poet to search for an ideal lifestyle that will make him happy in a way that marriage cannot. Seemingly, the poem expresses the author’s disgust with the institution of marriage and battles with the desire to conform and subvert the whole process.

Corso commences the poem by illustrating two key concerns: ‘Should I get married?’ and ‘Do I need to be good?’ The first interpretation of these concerns is his need to be good by getting married while the second understanding offers him two choices of whether to be good or be married (Man et al., n.p). For instance, he meditates on seeing a girl across the street, and he would take her to a date at the cemeteries. The speaker is not interested in following traditions while courting the girl and wants to make love to her at the cemetery (Man et al., n.p). Rather, the illustration demonstrates numerous social archetypes of dating and marriage life. Also, it illustrates whether these societal or traditional set-ups suits the author, who views himself as subversive.

Moreover, Corso concentrates the better part of the account on the middle-class group. He precisely explains each phase of the life of a young couple to demonstrate the extent to which married life is ritualized and is subordinate to the need to appear respectable within the society.  For example, during dating, the community seems to limit the couple’s behavior based on established boundaries. He mimics priest’s binding words during a wedding ceremony ‘Do you take this woman as your lawful wedded wife?’(Beckstrand n.p). This question underlines the traditional sense and essence of it upholding legal or community acceptable. Moving to the early life of the married couple, the wife is left to stay at home while the husband goes to work and only desires for his wife to mother his children (Man et al., n.p). Corso argues that this masculine dominated attitude towards women, who the society view them as helpless beings with one purpose of satisfying their husbands, is typical of the conservative middle-class group in America.

The speaker acknowledges the benefits and joys of married life; however, throughout the phases, the author is not satisfied. He seems to show emotions of embarrassment and irritation at the society’s behavior to conceptualize the institution of marriage. Besides, the author implies that he is unable to conform to a conventionalized type of marriage as he uses devices to demonstrate how ridiculous the institution of marriage is and the rituals involved (Reese, n.p). Corso claims that there lacks spontaneity since all actions are predetermined and thus, no love shown as the social force feelings of love to adhere to what is acceptable to the community.

As such, the poet effectively uses symbols and references to illustrate American life. For example, the use of cemeteries, zombies, ‘velvet suit and Faustus hood,’ and werewolves stimulate the readers to think about horror films that were popular during the 1960s (Reese, n.p). The implication developed by these references and concepts shows that the institution of marriage is similar to the pre-packed product such as comic reads, suburban houses, or ready-made furniture. The author strongly believes that the process of courtship and marriage a purchased experience and is not created. He continues to insinuate that it is part of the middle-class community, which no longer demonstrates expressions of love or one’s devotion (Reese, n.p). Therefore, as an important and life-shaping institution, the poet is wholly disillusioned with the concept of marriage.

In the poet’s work, readers find the repeated personification of forceful feelings and spontaneity. In that, the author frequently asserts that society requires that he ‘should’ wed a woman. In his argument, marriage should be a suggestion and not an obligation (Reese, n.p). The speaker prefers to marry and eventually be good. Still, one should not have the compulsion to wed, in which case, individuals are at free will to either follow or not the traditions and conventions of institutions of marriage. For instance, in the first stanza, the author combines conformity, which are rituals of marriage, with exaggerating horror genre. Looking at the first lines of the stanza, conventional dating is suggested to the girl next door, who is an archetypical and middle-class woman (Reese, n.p). Besides, the idea of taking her to watch movies demonstrates the traditional norm for dating couples.

Undermining these conventions, the author uses ‘velvet suit and Faustus hood’ to demonstrate unconventional, and the society would consider them as an inappropriate way of dating. He further uses a cemetery as a place for taking the girl on her first date, which shows the unorthodox location for courtship. Furthermore, the use of death and imaginary references such as werewolf arouses the darker side of the unconventional community (Konrádová, n.p). Unfortunately, Corso illustrates that these unconventional practices are suppressed and successfully discarded from marriage rituals. Hence, the poet feels that the society obligates him to conform to this convention when dating, thus feeling forced to move to the direction of what the society defines as passion, desire, and love.

The poem ‘Marriage’ demonstrates the poet’s disappointment with the marriage institution because he views that society dictates the nature of good and bad courtship and marital life. Corso narrates to the readers that the society dictates getting wedded means becoming a good person. According to the author, marriage should be something that he wants and desire to show love and be loved without societal boundaries. Throughout the poem, the author attempts to imagine how he can demonstrate a good marital life, gain peace during this phase, and enjoy exciting moments with his wife. Therefore, emotions symbolized in the account makes the feeling of love appear towards the end of the poem by trying to project his life concerning whether to marry or live without a wife. Also, he tries to picture what to do if the marriage was the only factor that stands between losing and having the girl he loves. Ultimately, the author enables readers to understand that marriage is a love commitment. It is a beautiful thing simply because it shows how much one loves a person and is willing to commit to the spouse as well as providing an opportunity for couples to develop in selfness.

Works cited

Beckstrand, Erika. “Gregory Corso.” 2016. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/beat_exhibit/1/

Konrádová, Alexandra. “Beat Poetry of the 1950s: Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso.” 2013. Retrieved from https://theses.cz/id/b18p9q/Beat_Poetry_of_1950s_Jack_Kerouac_Gregory_Corso.pdf

Man, Long Live, and Earth Egg. “GREGORY CORSO.” Beat Poets-Critical Survey of Poetry 2015: 42. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/document/207064666/Gregory-Corso

Reese, Zachary. “Corso, Conformity, and Christmas Teeth.” 2014. Retrieved from https://mdsoar.org/handle/11603/2661

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