To what degree do the characters in Nicholas Sparks's The Wedding illustrate the sentiments described in the following quote: "Advanced social position did not come without an abnegation, an...

To what degree do the characters in Nicholas Sparks's The Wedding illustrate the sentiments described in the following quote:

"Advanced social position did not come without an abnegation, an obliteration of the personal, the intimate, the hidden, the passionate.  A balance had to be achieved."



Expert Answers
Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ultimately, one thing the quote in your question argues is that new sociocultural changes, such as rises in socioeconomic statuses, also inevitably bring negative consequences along with benefits, especially in home life. For example, as the lower class rises to the middle class and as the middle class becomes wealthier itself, consequences ensue because an increase in income can't be achieved without an increase in labor as well. As individuals have to work harder to maintain their desired socioeconomic statuses, other things are consequentially neglected such as children and marriages. As marriages and other aspects of home life become neglected, "the personal, the intimate, the hidden, the passionate" all become neglected or "obliterated." We especially see an "obliteration" of intimacy and passion in Wilson and Jane's married life as a result of Wilson's drive to work and Jane's feeling that she must compromise in order to achieve a marriage.

One thing we learn is that, as a result of Wilson's dedication to his work, Jane took on all the responsibilities of raising the children. For that reason, Wilson feels like he and his three grown children are virtually strangers. In fact, we learn in Chapter 9 that Wilson became so involved in work and late meetings he could have rescheduled, that he missed out on spending time with the family. He missed birthdays, "volleyball games and track meets, piano concerts, [and] school plays." However, we also learn in the same chapter that the reason why Jane loves Wilson and married him was because of his willingness to provide so well for his family. In fact, in this chapter, Jane asserts that, yes, Wilson may have worked too much, but she respects him for his willingness to work for his family, as we see when she speaks the following passage:

And yes, you have worked a lot ... Probably too much. But I always knew you were doing it because you wanted to provide for our family. There's a lot to be said for that, and I was able to stay home and raise the kids because of it. That was always important to me. (Ch. 9)

Regardless, while Wilson's hard work was financially beneficial to the family, his hard work also led to an "obliteration" of the intimacy and passion within the marriage. It also led to an "obliteration" of a personal connection with his children.

Jane's own desire for a specific social status also led to an obliteration of intimacy and passion. Out of her desire to be married, which we can call a social status, Jane chose to marry Wilson even though he may not have been the ideal choice. Specifically, we learn in Chapter 8 that Jane is a devout Christian, while Wilson is a professed atheist. As a result of Wilson's atheism, Jane agreed to compromise to having their wedding performed by a judge rather than having a church wedding. Later, she has to beg Wilson to compromise by going with her into a church to pray and remind him that marriages are all about compromise. However, had Jane not been interested in achieving the social status of marriage or had waited until she met someone else who was a Christian, she would not have had to compromise her desires to suit her husband's beliefs. It can also be said that Jane's compromise made her feel emotionally jilted, especially when she sensed that Wilson was not willing to make the same compromise. Therefore, it can be said that Jane wanting to achieve the social status of marriage and making what she felt to be a necessary compromise to achieve marriage status also contributed to Jane and Wilson's struggling marriage. In other words, Jane's desires for marriage social status also resulted in the "obliteration" of intimacy and passion.