Love Again?

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"MOTHER: In love! Is that beginning again! I thought you were over that!" - Machinal Episode Two p.15

The conversation that took place between the mother and the young woman right before and after this line, along with the line itself really interested me. It seems as if the young woman almost felt like she needed to get married, it was expected and what she should do, yet the mother makes it seem as if this is nonsense! A woman should not have to get married just because it is customary and what is expected. But then, after the young woman tells her mother who the man who wants to marry her is - and that he agreed to take care of the mother - suddenly the mother made it seem as if she needed to marry. The sudden change of mind really caught me off guard. I was agreeing with how the mother seemed to be reacting at the beginning, that a husband was not necessary, then when it was discovered he could be a supporter and provider, suddenly the daughter just had to be with him. I guess this was common at the time. As the daughter said, shouldn't she be in the love with the man she is to marry? But at the time the play was written, I think it was still common to only marry a man for his money, and what he could offer as far as material possessions (along the same lines as the reasons Daisy married Tom). I was excited to see a mother stand up for her daughters rights to remain single, but was disappointed in how easily she soon pushed her to accept the proposal.


Thoughts From Other Students


I agree with you that at the time that was entirely too common.
and thank you for pointing this out;
I didn't catch the part that the young woman told her mother who it was and that he would support her. I'll have to go back and read it again.

I wrote about this too, here's a link to mine:

Nathan Hart said:

I agree with you Rosalind. At the beginning, it did look like the mother really had the best interest in mind, but as soon as she said she would be taken care of the mother did a complete 180.

I believe that this play can be compared to the Great Gatsby in many ways. The timed period that both of these were written. Machinal (1928) and the Great Gatsby (1925) were written very close together. The portrayal of women in society are very similar. Daisy married Tom for his social class and his money, and the young women seems to do the same thing. She really doesnt love the man, and i think we can see that from the next episode as well. Their honeymoon was very strange. The young women obviously does not want to be intimate with the man. She tries to get out of it, but he wont let her. The whole situation to me is a bit strange. I felt like she was being forced to do this against her will. This just shows how "men" were protrayed during this time period.

Rosalind Blair said:

Nathan, I never even made the connection between the Great Gatsby and Machinal. After reading your comment, I can definitely see how many connections there are. I feel that during this time, men were portrayed as almost necessary for a woman to have in her life. Just as Daisy was with Tom - the love is not really there. Its more focused on status, class, and the possesion of material tihngs.

Marie vanMaanen said:

Honestly, while I was reading the play, I didn't pay much attention to this change in the mother's attitude. I think you made a good point though. The mother completely changes her opinion about the young woman getting married after the woman says who the man is. It definitely seems like the mother originally thinks the woman is getting married because of love, but the mother doesn't seem to approve of getting married for love. The mother really pushes for the marriage of financial security though which indicates that for women of that time, financial security was very important. I didn't really think of it much before, but after reading your blog I can also see many similarities between The Great Gatsby and Machinal on the ideas of marriage.

Rosalind Blair said:

I think it has been interesting to find the similarities between the different books we have been reading already this semester. I think there are a lot of similarities between The Great Gatsby and Machinal, because they were written around the same time period, but I think that as the course goes on, we will be able to find things to compare between many of the other books.

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