22 February 2011
For Better or For Role Reversal:
An Analysis of J. Robert Lennon’s “When I Married, I Became an Old Woman…” Change, one of the most natural things guaranteed at birth, can have either a positive or negative effect on life. It is inevitable that life will change and that people must then change to adapt. Though there are many factors of life that produce a drastic transformation, marriage and the effect it has on the people involved is diverse in how the married cope. J. Robert Lennon reveals just how marriage can affect life in “When I Married, I Became an old Woman.” J. Robert Lennon creates a clever cautionary tale for any unsuspecting couple thinking marriage will not alter a relationship. In the story, on their honeymoon night, the narrator and his wife both undergo mental and physical transformations into the opposite sex, becoming each other. This highly impractical metamorphosis the narrator goes through, symbolizes the true metamorphosis that takes place in one’s life with marriage. Although the couple went through what one would think is a life shattering alteration, they were “unsurprised” (Lennon10) by the change of bodies. By not allowing the change in gender to cause chaos in their new marriage, the narrator and his wife prove that love is unyielding. The ability they have to make the “necessary allowances and compromises” (Lennon10) with one another, shows the amount of commitment and optimism they have for their relationship.
Throughout this work, symbolism disguises the true meaning for the story. “Makeup, which initially I eschewed, came to seem indispensible” (Lennon11) explains the narrator, when talking about the change in his role causing him to now wear makeup and dress as his wife would. The choice to wear makeup or not, represents the choice to compromise or to stay the person he was before marriage. The narrator expresses that he was “forced to...