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"Say Yes"

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Kristen John

on 17 April 2015

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Transcript of "Say Yes"

"Say Yes"
By Tobias Wolff
In this story, a husband and a wife are doing the dishes together when they start arguing about interracial marriage. The husband doesn't think it's a good idea, and this offends the wife. She asks him if he would've married her even if she was black, and he replies no. This hurts her so she walks away from him. After some thinking, the husband returns to her and tells her that he will marry her. The story ends with the husband turning out the lights and waiting for her to get in bed.

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds” by William Shakespeare
This poem connects to the short story because of its description of what it means to have true love. In the poem, Shakespeare summarizes that true love cannot be broken overtime by obstacles and time itself; those that are in true love stay together. This message is very relevant to the short story. The man and wife have been together for so long that each person knows what the other is thinking and feeling. They obviously have true love because even after their argument the man and wife make up in bed that night; proving that even with obstacles, true love does not falter.
“Interracial marriages on the rise, but social stigmas persist”
By Kelsey Clark

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
In the story of To Kill a Mockingbird, the main characters are present in a town in the south where racism towards blacks is very prevalent. The characters in TKAM struggle to cope with the other residents’ feelings towards blacks in general and their conflicting viewpoints lead them to clash with other town members over a central racially charged issue. Similarly, in the short story “Say Yes” Tobias Wolff the two main characters are divided on the racially charged topic of interracial marriage. These characters relate back to TKAM with their division on the topic; the husband that does not believe in interracial marriage represents the anti-black community in the town, and the wife that believes that blacks and whites should be able to get married represents the main characters that believe in racial equality.
“Hills Like White Elephants”
by Ernest Hemingway
This short story connects to the short story, “Say Yes” by Tobias Wolff, because of the parallels involving relationships. In both stories there is an argument between lovers. Both stories have an issue that the couple is arguing over, even though they are completely unrelated. In “Hills Like White Elephants” the couple is arguing over the idea of the female having an abortion or not, while “Say Yes” deals with a scenario concerning the race of the wife. Each situation is driven by the love between the individuals, and the effort to sustain happiness and true love. Even though the setting and the topics differ, the similar purpose of remaining in love, is the biggest connection between these short stories.
Kristen John, Bryanna YOutzy, David Erfle, Noah chirico, Alex ruf
This news article relates to “Say Yes,” our short story, because it discusses interracial couples and the judgments that come along with it. I think this article shows a lot from both the husband and wife’s point of view. To start, the wife from our short story feels as if there shouldn’t be much of a difference in same-race couples and interracial couples. The article represents this thought process because towards the end it says that mixed children will soon blur these social stigmas. The wife wants this to occur. The article also represents the husband’s point of view because he talks a lot about the statistics in these marriages. A lot of interracial couples deal with a lot of harassment and rude comments, showing what the husband meant. In the end, neither the husband nor the wife is right or wrong. The article basically ends on the wife’s side because it thinks these lines will soon be erased.
We are using this picture as our meme because it directly represents the argument in “Say Yes.” The couple in the story fails to realize that there is not a right or wrong answer, and this makes the argument continue far longer than what it should have. The wife does not understand her husband’s point of view, and vice versa. They could have agreed to disagree, but instead it was just a heated argument that was “circular.” A view point on interracial couples develops through a person’s experiences and environment; therefore, making the couples argument a “circular argument in progress.”
“If I Were a Carpenter” by Johnny Cash and June Carter
The song “If I Were a Carpenter” Johnny Cash is talking giving his wife, June Carter, hypothetical situations in which he is a tradesman who assumedly is not incredibly wealthy or well off. The whole song is basically the couple expressing their love for one another through their acceptance of their life choices, an example of which being the verse, “If a tinker was my trade, would I still find you?//I'd be carrying the pot you made, following behind you”. In the story of “Say Yes” however, the opposite thing occurs. When the wife asks her husband if he would have still married her if she was black, he responds at first with a firm statement of no. This throws their relationship into a fritz, and shows how an unsupportive spouse can destroy relationships. Despite the contrasting plots of the song and the story, the theme of both are very similar, and shows the connection between the two.

"A Doll House" by Henrik Ibsen
A Doll House, written by Henrik Ibsen, is a play that reveals secrets and lies that are present for years. They have a seemingly perfect marriage on the surface. When some of the secrets come to light (Nora’s loan from Krogstad), Torvald, Nora’s husband, says hurtful things to Nora and then attempts to take them back. The very end of A Doll House is what relates to the short story Say Yes by Tobias Wolff. In Say Yes, their marriage appears to be perfect in the beginning. The husband does everything he can to please his wife and to help her out. When his wife begins to question him about his beliefs, he says something that she is rather hurt by: that if she had been black, he would not have married her.
The wife then sits in silence and the husband realizes how different his views are compared to his wife’s. After their disagreement, he sees her as a stranger. Nora from A Doll House realizes that she Torvald do not know each other at all. Because of this, she chooses to leave him and their kids. Both of these short stories have a common theme that nothing, especially marriage, can be entirely perfect. They seem to be perfect on the surface, but then both couples realize that they are more different than they thought. The ending of A Doll House strongly relates to the entire short story Say Yes.

The Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
The Time Traveler’s Wife is a novel written by Audrey Niffenegger, which was then turned into a movie back in 2003 (directed by Robert Schwentke). This movie tells the story of a librarian (played by Eric Bana) that possesses a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel. At first this only affects him, but then he marries a woman (played by Rachel McAdams) and this begins to complicate his marriage. He randomly disappears and is gone for various amounts of time. His wife spends the majority of her time alone; the rest of her time is spent either picking him up wherever he appears, or fighting with him.
This movie relates to Say Yes because they both help reinforce the stereotype that the woman is always correct. Both husbands do everything they can to please their wife; Henry (the husband in Time Traveler’s Wife) even goes as far as getting a vasectomy without her permission because he thinks that’s what will hurt her the least (that way they don’t have a time traveling baby). Both of them give in to their wives and apologize even if they don’t feel they did anything wrong. All they want to do is make their wives happy and make the relationship a success; this common theme ties these two works together.

This advertisement connects to “Say Yes” because in the wife’s opinion, love truly is all one needs. She believes that if a black and white person love each other, their color shouldn’t matter. She continually asks her husband if he would’ve married her if she was black. He says that they probably wouldn’t have fallen in love. She wants to know if they actually were in love and she was black, would he still marry her. In her view, as long as her husband loves her, it shouldn’t matter what skin color she is. But when her husband finally tells her he wouldn’t marry her, it’s obvious that he doesn’t base love on anything deeper than skin color.
“If thou must love me”
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

In this poem, the poet basically tells whoever she’s addressing to not love her for her looks. She says that her looks “may be changed.” Instead, she wants to be loved “for love’s sake.” She wants to be deeply loved as a person and not on her outer appearance. This connects to “Say Yes” because the wife did not want to be loved based on her skin color. The husband was not going to marry her if she was black. This means that her husband did not love her “for love’s sake,” he loved her based on how she looked. If he truly loved her, it would not matter if she was black or white.
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