Pie Glue: The Sanctimonious Institution of Marriage
Gregory Corso's poem "Marriage" is a lucid example of how John Clellon Holmes described the Beat Generation: a display of "moral degeneration." The speaker of the poem is torn between submitting to the non-conformity of the Beats and conforming to society's strict views about marriage and social structure. The presence of conflicting thoughts- whether or not to get married and looking at the prospects of marriage from two different viewpoints, gives this satirical poem a lot of weight as a plea against the phony social construction that is marriage. The poem starts off with questions that are not, under usual circumstances asked by young eligible men. Yet these rhetorical questions seem to have the answers, sarcastic and satirical answers hidden in them. The speaker of the poem, a young man, ponders if he should “be good” (line 1). Being “good” is what everybody expects you to be, and the definition of this “good” that is talked about has nothing to do with morality. Rather, being good is just the action of conforming to society’s expectations of one’s actions and behavior. He contemplates what a date with him would be like. He would take the lady to a cemetery as opposed to the movies and talk about abominations such as werewolves and “forked clarinets”, which is probably a reference to the Devil’s forked tongue. And then, as any man would, he would “desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries” (line 5) of foreplay. But as he would be about to advance further she, being a good girl, would stop him from going any further. He, being like any young man of age, would want sex. He would try to convince her, “You must feel! It’s beautiful to feel!”(line 7). He would try to coerce her with words, coerce her into giving in. He would eventually “be good” once more and refrain from having her. Instead, he would lay with her by a tombstone and look at the beauty of the starry sky. Once again, what he describes...
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