Short Story #257: Roselily by Alice Walker

Title:  Roselily 

Author:  Alice Walker


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The story weaves together opening lines of a wedding ceremony with the story of the two being married.  With each line of the ceremony, the narrator gives the reader a glimpse of the world of the woman's life.  They are getting married on her front porch near a highway.  She is aware and knows her soon-to-be husband is aware that many in attendance are judging them while also interested in the food and gossip that will be generated by the event.  She wishes she didn't have 3 children and is quickly ashamed of the thought.  She thinks about how confining his religion will be and how she will need to cover her head.  She thinks about her forthcoming move to Chicago with her new husband and children.  She thinks about her fourth child who went with the father because the father could and would take care of the child.  She reflects how their relationship didn't work out and that she hopes he is fine in New England, where he was from and where he returned.  She feels distant from her soon to be husband but also wonders what lies ahead.  She recalls her dead mother and her father who is in attendance.  She wonders if her husband should marry her younger sisters because she feels too worn out.  She thinks about the way he sees her as new and fresh and beyond her past, but she wonders if that is enough.  She thinks about the new way of living he has promised her and whether she will like the idea of having more children.  She realizes now that she might have rushed into it--to be done with the life she had been dealt.  She might have too quickly accepted the proposal.  She wonders what aspects of him that she loves and if she does actually love him in full.  The wedding ceremony is finished and he kisses her.  She watches as he stands apart and wonders how the journey to their new home will be. 


The story has a much more compelling delivery when reading it as each line of the ceremony read preempts a different strand of thought of the protagonist. And the bind of escaping the past but jumping into a questionable future is also strongly experience through Roselily's eyes.  Through this brief short story, you can get a full sense of her life and some strong glimpses of her future. 

Short Story #257 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  7/23/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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