What do these lines reveal about Roselily, her husband, and their marriage?

"She presses her worried fingers into his palm. He is standing in front of her. In the crush of well–wishing people, he does not look back."

Quick answer:

These lines reveal that Roselily is placing her entire future in the hands of the man she has married but that he will not give her the care and attention he has promised. He does not look at his worried bride, but pushes ahead of her, showing their inequality in this marriage and his lack of awareness of her fears for their new life.

Expert Answers

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These final lines emphasize points about Roselily and the groom that have been teased at throughout Alice Walker's short story.

Roselily, the bride, is choosing to leave everything she has known for a new life in Chicago with her husband, a Muslim man. Although she is uncertain about their life together, she is placing everything in his hands, as he has promised her the peaceful life she has been longing for. The line "she presses her worried fingers into his palm" reveals the faith she is choosing to place in him. Her fingers, like herself, are "worried," and she gives them, like herself, to her groom for safekeeping. It is an act of trust.

However, Walker leaves us with many doubts about the groom and his relationship with Roselily. "He is standing in front of her" suggests that he has taken on the role of the leader in their relationship. He is in charge now and will dictate the path their life takes. They do not stand side by side, as many newlyweds on their wedding day, but one in front of the other, suggesting that they will not be equals in this marriage.

The fact that the groom does not look back at Roselily also confirms that though he loves her, he is more concerned with the idea of her than with her actual being. Roselily worries about this earlier in the piece, thinking that he sees her as the blushing virginal bride but that she cannot remain that way forever, in his head or in real life. The end of their wedding provides no reassurance that the groom truly sees Roselily. As she worries about their future life, about her inadequacy as a wife, about her ignorance of the world she is about to enter, she places her "worried" hand in his power. He, in turn, "does not look back." He does not see her fears; he does not see her at all.

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