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The poet's "freight" is the substance of her poems; they will hatchas the tentative communications that come from efforts of affection. Feelings,in Marianne Moore's scheme of things, must be hidden but maintained whole inhiding. Their existence, more than any other force, dictates the form and beautyof the shell that holds them. Perhaps this is why the typical man and thetypical woman who seek each other and each other's feelings in marriage mustuse, at least in Moore's poem "Marriage," the careful rhetoric theyuse, and why the poet must arrange her poem so as neither to express too earlyan unformed and unprotected feeling nor to deny the loving motives that underlyand oversee the finished form.

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"Marriage" begins with Adam and Eve. The poem is "about"a mythical situation. Without telling us the whole story, it makes jerky guessespertaining to the meaning of it. This reflects the critical modern quandary of aliterature that is over-conscious of itself. The question we are expected to askof literature is not an absorbed "what happens next?" but abeard-stroking "what does it mean?" Each fragment has its burden. Eachmust Divorce—between absorption in a mythic story and detachedanalysis of its parts—is written into the engagement.

Jul 13, 2011 · Essay on Marriage

"Mythological statements lead to questions," observes ElizabethSewell. Whether the statements really precede the questions asSewell's phrasing would have it, or vice versa, it is true that in Moore's poem"Marriage" both are present and are connected causally, howevercasually. We do not want to see the same old Adam and Eve go through their oldroutine, we want to know what they about our own blunderingimitation of it. We want to see them respond to myth. We imaginetheir responses in our own fears and hesitations, desires and aggressions, andlast but not least, rhetorical persuasions.

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"Marriage" appeared in 1923, one year after T. S. Eliot had shownthe literary world what could be done with a fragmented experience in An extraordinarily long poem for Marianne Moore to have written,running to ten pages in the it was first brought out bythe Manikin Press in London (was it thought to be unacceptable in America?) as abook in itself. "Marriage" is seldom, if ever, mentioned in connectionwith what have come to be known as the standard long poems or neo-epics of thepresent century, including the certainlong poems of Stevens, Crane's and Williams' ThoughMarianne Moore's "Marriage" is not as flamboyant as some of them, notperhaps as painstakingly conceived (though one may have doubts about this), oras successful, it shares with these poems certain origins in latenineteenth-century (French) and twentieth-century poetic speculations, andcertain "originalities"—disjunctiveness, obscurity, impliedcriticisms and cynicism about modern society, a free combination of poeticstyles. The relations these poems bear to each other and to literary and socialtraditions are expressed not by logical or continuous argument, but by glancingallusions and sly parataxis. It is helpful to think of Moore's"Marriage" in relation to these poems, as an experiment partlyinfluenced by other experiments in poetry and partly by the social and literary that influenced them all. She refers both to marriage and to Adam's mishapas "experiments," and almost certainly she considered her poem as asimilar consciousness-expanding experiment. Experimenting is, after all,something one does when one is not satisfied with the way things are and wantsto find something better; an experiment is also often a bid for power, whetherit occurs in Eden or in a fallen world.

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An Essay on "Marriage" by Pamela White Hadas

The "criminal ingenuity" of "mechanical advertising"replaces childlike dreams with those of adult-infantile cupidity. Simpleself-expression learns calculation and the art of seeming to be what it has lostby calculation, the artlessness of being itself. The poet has no choice but tofight fire with fire. The poem "Marriage" parades as "statementsthat took my fancy which I tried to arrange plausibly" (Moore's first noteon the poem). Actually, it is forced to partake of the same evilly consciousrhetorical techniques that it damns. It courts us, woos us with the propagandaof poetry, wants to bond our senses to it for life. It is greedy for ouraffections. There the difference begins. Moore wants our affections not for amaterial greed which goes beyond them, and not for a social-commercialcommitment, but for a spiritual and moral commitment. We cannot escape theoriginal greed of Adam's experiment, but we can recognize that it was a greedfor life and love and not twist those things to mean aimless possessiveness anda willingness to be possessed.

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13/07/2011 · Essay on Marriage

If, however, woman is free and big enough to learn the mystery of sex without the sanction of State or Church, she will stand condemned as utterly unfit to become the wife of a "good" man, his goodness consisting of an empty head and plenty of money. Can there be anything more outrageous than the idea that a healthy, grown woman, full of life and passion, must deny nature's demand, must subdue her most intense craving, undermine her health and break her spirit, must stunt her vision, abstain from the depth and glory of sex experience until a "good" man comes along to take her unto himself as a wife? That is precisely what marriage means. How can such an arrangement end except in failure? This is one, though not the least important, factor of marriage, which differentiates it from love.