June 17, 2010
"a subjective phenomenon (e.g., romantic love) did not become, properly speaking, "real" until it took its place in an objective structure, and that it was therefore important that the individual and the civic be synthesized in a ceremony of commitment."
Jonathan believed that he had to get married to prove that their love was "real." There had to be a "ceremony of commitment" to tie him and his wife together in society, which I'm guessing is what he meant by "the individual and the civic." After six years of living together he and his wife found it unbearable, but not as repulsive as the idea of divorce. In a later portion of the chapter he goes into long explanations about his ideas on divorce, but it boils down to he had been socialized to believe that marriage was forever and divorce was for those who didn't try hard enough to make their commitment last.
I found this interesting because of all the reading we've been doing about the symbols of marriage, such as the ring, and the rules of engagement. These ideas were so engrained in Jonathan Franzen that he thought he was a failure because he did everything "by the rules" but his life/marriage didn't fit the norm.
thanks to http://hadassahsabo.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/divorce.jpg for the image.
Posted by ambersummer