Peter Meinke’s Advice to My Son: the Rules to Picking a Good Wife

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  • Topic: Family, Assumption of Mary, Wife
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  • Published : June 14, 2011
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Peter Meinke’s Advice to My Son: The Rules to Picking a Good Wife The poem Advice to My Son by Peter Meinke, is a perfect example of how old sayings do not always reflect life. In this poem Meinke is giving his son advice on choosing a wife; he advises his son to “Therefore, marry a pretty girl / after seeing her mother;” (line 17-18). There are several value assumptions that underlie the statement made by Meinke to his son. After reading and evaluating them all, I found none of the assumptions to be valid? To me the statement is just old sayings passed down from generation to generation. It is due to the assumption that a girl will look like her mother because she gave her life, which makes people feel there is truth to this assumption. Meinke stated to his son:

“To be specific, between the peony and the rose / plant squash and spinach, turnips and tomatoes; / beauty is nectar / and nectar, in a desert, saves- / but the stomach craves stronger sustenance / than the honied vine. / Therefore, marry a pretty girl / after seeing her mother;” (lines 11-18). In lines 11-16, Meinke tells his son to make sure to keep beautiful things in his life. To pick the things that will make him the happiest and plant them solidly in his life. But to put useful people and things in his life such as a wife, job, food, home, and friends, because no matter how beautiful something is it alone will not keep him alive. Meinke is giving his son excellent advise, on how he should keep his life balanced so that he can be happy. But when he informs his son to “marry a pretty girl / after seeing her mother;” Meinke gives the invalid assumption that just because the girl’s mother is pretty when she is older that the daughter will be as well (lines 17-18).

By informing his son to just marry a pretty wife, Meinke also gives the assumption that his life will be happy just because his wife will be pretty even when she is old. This brings to mind the saying my grandmother use to say “never...
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