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“A Tale of Two Divorces” by Anne Roiphe

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“A Tale of Two Divorces” by Anne Roiphe was alarming. I felt great sorrow for her mother, as she retold the failure of her parents marraige. It bothered me that there was a point in which her mother was willing to leave her father because of his abusiveness, yet then submitted herself to pardon him, and not leave him. Roiphe did the same when she was on ithe verge of divorce; she tried to find excuses for her husband’s immoral actions. She explains, “my husband had other women and I thought it was an artist’s privelege[…]” (208). Or when she states that her husband”went on binges and used up all our money.

I thought it was poetic[…] I was always apologizing” (208). Perhaps there was a point in which these women allowed themselves to be naive and let the men in their lives to endulge in the stereotype of male superiority, where he is a womanizer, drinks excessively, critisizes his wife, and expects his house to be in perfect condition. I do, however, admire Roiphe for her strength in leaving that unhealthy relationship while she still could. This is why she refers to divorce as “an emergency escape hatch” (212). If a person is in a relationship that is truly distructive, then it is best for that person to distance themselves from that relationship, in order to save themselves from further misery and insecurity.

The most disturbing point of this article is that there is an instant bitterness that comes from a divorce. Roiphe has become skeptical about marraige. She mentions “if we are able to marraige as largely an economic, child-rearing institution[…] we might be better off” (211). I disagree with her statement because it completely defies the purpose of marraige. I believe marraige is all of those aspects such as managing money, taking care of children, and individual ambition; but I firmly believe that because Roiphe has been through the pain of a divorce, she is critisizing marraige in this way.

Marraige also incorporates the ability for two people who love each other to grow with each other, take time to know each other, learn from each other, console and support one another, and deal with each other through good times and bad times, work through obstacles, with their faults and perfections, in other words “for better and for worse.” It seemed that in Roiphe’s experiences women were the only ones supporting the men’s bad habits. Though, as Roiphe includes that briefly the women’s movement gave some relief to “isolated women who were off adventure bound […] unwilling to be sole caretakers” (209). This also relates to the Paco Underhill article “Shop Like a Man”, which he states that women were subserviant to men and even picked out their underwear. Also, Underhill’s article contrasts Roiphe’s article, when he states that men are now being more involved in the home, where as before, in Roiphe’s article the men were more distant.

An interesting thought was how the children are effected after a divorce. “I wish this weren’t so […] leaving ugly deep scars across our children’s psyches[…]” (210). As a child, who has experienced a parents divorce, I believe that the age of the child, when the parents divorce, has much to do with the effect it has on them. The younger the child, to a certain extent has less of an effect. If the parents divorce when the child is older it would be harder for the child to put trust in future relationships. Personally, I do not feel that my parents’ divorce, when I was four years old, has any connection to the relationships that I develop in my life. My mother was also in a similar situation as Roiphe’s mother, and I don’t see my self with any scars.

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