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Symbolic Wedding Symbolic Success

abradycole's picture

Going off of what bridgetmartha said about Monica’s mother’s double-standards, I want to first talk about the primarily symbolic nature of Monica and David’s wedding, and then about Monica’s desire to have a baby. I found it troubling that with the obvious wealth they have, they were able to buy a special day for Monica. While it was a kind gesture to honor their relationship in that way, I agree with bridgetmartha when she says that it is a purely symbolic ceremony. After their marriage, David moved in with Monica’s family, and her mother seemed to have no inclination to push the couple in the direction of living a more independent life together. She says a couple of times throughout the film that she knows that she needs to start thinking about how to keep the process going of getting her daughter to a place where she can live more independently. However, there are also a couple times when she says that the people closest to Monica and David (i.e. their mothers) are the ones who end up hurting them the most by sheltering and protecting them from the outside world. It’s interesting to me that she can have this kind of awareness but not be able to adjust her expectations or hopes for her daughter’s life. I also thought it was interesting how starkly different Monica’s mother’s hopes for the future were from Monica’s stepfather. He seemed to have reservations about hoping for an independent future for Monica and David. In the scene when he’s grilling hamburgers outside and he’s away from the rest of the family, he says very frankly that it’s unreasonable to think that they will someday be independent.

            I wish there was some kind of follow up to this film to allow us to see how they’re doing now. With Monica’s mother’s desire to give her daughter everything she possibly can, and the money to support that desire, I’m left wondering if Monica and David ended up having a child. There’s a scene in which Monica says she will someday have a baby and that her parents will take care of it. Later her mother and David’s mother says that they’re just children themselves. Going back to bridgetmartha’s point about infantilization, I think it’s important to think about what we’ve been talking about in both Kristin and Anne’s classes. Last week we talked about the queering of different life paths. Monica’s desire to have a baby, while I’m sure is also a genuine desire, is a mode of adhering to normative life achievement standards. The goal of maturing to adulthood and perpetuating standard models of family is one way we, as a society, gage success. By acknowledging that Monica and David aren’t, for the time being, equipped with the necessary skills to raise a baby on their own, Monica’s mother is saying that her daughter cannot succeed in life in a normative way.