Thursday, November 5, 2009


In this section of the novel, the caravan description was beautiful to me. It is a moving village, offering food, protection, and company for the travelers as they move towards their destination.

In class we spent a great deal of time talking about the way the slave girl was so easily and nonchalantly traded. There has been a great deal of discussion in the previous blogs about arranged marriage, the treatment of women (as second class citizens) and slavery. I find all of this fascinating. It is interesting to think of Miriam as having almost a slave status. She is essentially traded, or almost traded, to a man just for business reasons. “Marriage” certainly can be seen here as just a synonym for slavery, or ownership.

I don’t really find this that surprising, as a few other bloggers have. A 17 year old having an arranged marriage today is a lot different (hopefully) than Miriam’s arranged marriage would have been. Today arranged marriage happens as a way to ensure a good union, and keep a daughter safe. Miriam’s almost marriage was strictly for business means, as were many marriages in those times. Daughters were expensive to keep around, they just ate all the food without giving much back, they certainly weren’t going to carry on the family name and fortune (for it would either die with them if they weren’t married, or go to their husband if they were).

As for the Western world, marriage is still a hot topic. Marriage has seemed to have become less of a trade thing and more of a status symbol. If you are married in the United States today, you are able to merge funds, health insurance, and more easily take care of the people around you. Right now marriage seems to be able to ensure the first class status of hetero-couples. I guess it hasn’t really come all that far from ensuring the first class status of the patriarchy back in the day.

--Arielle Parris-Hoshour


  1. I understand the point of creating a safe union through marriage for one's daughter, but it also takes away individual choice, which I consider to be freedom. If this type of arrangment is taking away one's personal choice which leads to one's own happiness, then I consider it a form of slavery.

  2. You brought up some really interesting points. I think you’re right, that when you think about it, marriage hasn’t changed all THAT much since the 15th century. Today, marriage is still very much a business deal as it was back in the 15th century. People marry people who complement each other; one gives ___, while one gives ___ to the union. Not to say that marriage is based off this trade-off, but it is certainly a large part of a relationship. The biggest difference today is that women have a choice (in more developed countries) of who they want to marry of if they will marry at all. But ultimately, an unmarried woman by 35 is still frowned upon and stereotyped even in modern society. So although there is much more of a choice for women, and laws protecting women, women are still somewhat trapped into marriages even in this day and age.

  3. I have never understood arranged marriages. I feel that it goes against everything marriage is suppose to stand for. Even though nowadays marriage is very much a business deal I still like to remain optimistic and think that it still has more loving factors also. I wouldn't go as far to call it slavery, but I do think it's taking away a very personal choice that people have.

  4. I agree with you, I think that specific aspects of marriage have definitely changed throughout history. Also in Western society I believe that marriage has been sered into our minds as something that needs to be obtained for security. I don't know if I agree that marriage ensures the first class status though, just because many people are getting marry for different reasons today (birth out of wedlock for example)- then again I don't know if you were just using that as a statement to make your point. Either way- interesting blog.

  5. I really liked the points you brought up in your blog. What especially grabbed my attention was the comparison between arranged marriages in the past and marriages today. Arranged marriages were used to take the burden of providing for the daughter away from the family, and also for ensuring her well being. Marriages were and still are a means to provide people with security- as Arielle mentioned with the health insurance, joint income, etc. Today, however, I feel that marriages are losing their prestige. Divorces are extremely prevalent in our society, and marriages are becoming increasingly controversial because same sex couples are denied the right to wed, and therefore denied the rights that married couples are. Do you think that the definition of marriage will change anytime soon in our society? Do you think marriage, as it is established in our society, is fair?