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Why Marry?

Jesse Lynch Williams

Book Overview: 

Why Marry? is a comedy, which "tells the truth about marriage". We find a family in the throes of proving the morality of marriage to a New Age Woman. Can the family defend marriage to this self-supporting girl? Will she be convinced that marriage is the ultimate sacredness of a relationship or will she hold to her perception that marriage is the basis of separating two lovers.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Your scientific friend gets just two thousand dollars a year!... Lucy, send for Helen.

[Lucy goes obediently.

Judge

Well, why not give the young man a raise?

John

Oh, that's not a bad salary for scientists, college professors, and that sort of thing. Why,[Pg 41] even the head of the institute himself gets less than the superintendent of my mills. No future in science.

Judge

Perfectly practical, Theodore. The superintendent of John's mills saves the company thousands of dollars. These bacteriologists merely save the nation thousands of babies. All our laws, written and unwritten, value private property above human life. I'm a distinguished jurist and I always render my decisions accordingly. I'd be reversed by the United States Supreme Court if I didn't. We're all rewarded in inverse ratio to our usefulness to society, Theodore. That's why "practica. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Winner of the inaugural Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Why Marry? has a lot going on. One of the things I like about reading plays is they tend to be fairly quick and straightforward reads (excluding Elizabethan and other older drama). Why Marry? is an exception: dense, with a lot to unpack, it feels m...more

A fairly cruddy Pulitzer prize winning play. Some of the characters are dreadfully overbearing and unfortunately the discussion of the benefits and social utility of marriage and family life no longer hold the same relevance today in the world of de facto relationships. The two main characters sc...more

Originally published in 1918, it's an surprisingly relevant play about the significance and nature of marriage, gender roles, and love in our culture.

Stands the test of time well. The final trick at the end was kind of cheap, though.

"Why Marry?" was the first play by Jesse Lynch Williams and it was difficult to live up to since it won the first Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1918. Originally titled "And So They Were Married" it is a smart and humorous look at society's view of marriage and love and how the two aren't always the...more

I really like this dialog :
John: "No respectable home will let you inside the door"
Ernest: "I've seen inside respectable homes. I want no more"

This is the first audio book I have listened and I really loved it. Also I love the moral of the story.

The favorite male characters are Ernest and judge b...more

This Pulitzer Prize winning drama does present a few gems.
Do sample these:
Our ideas might be higher than society's. But society rewards and punishes its members according to its ideas and ours.

Then the practical objective of marriage is not to bring together those who love each other but to kee...more

Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama, 1918.
"Our ideas may be higher than society's, but society rewards and punishes its members according to its own ideas, not ours."
The winner of first Pulitzer prize was this controversial comedy which questions the institution of marriage and divorce on the log...more

A dated play regarding societal views of marriage. Very well written and true to today in some respects.

Summary: Couples in a family are each having separate issues surrounding the subject of marriage.
Main plot: Ernest and Helen: two scientists who agree that they love each other; and also agree that they do not want to marry.
Sub-plots: Rex and Jean: probably don’t really love each other but have d...more

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