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Friday, August 31, 2012

Culture and Exchanging Vows

Guest Blogger: Chris Manganaro When people get married, their beliefs and cultures can sometimes clash. Along with compromises made over dinner and smaller life changes, there are bigger things that must be worked out. These things tend to do with religion and such and are only made more complicated when children are involved. It is but one obstacle to making a marriage work. It all starts when we meet someone and try to establish what they want in life. It begins right away on the first date. The only problem is making sure to keep things in mind. In Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece by Patricia Volonakis Davis, we are introduced to Patricia and her own failed marriage. In it we are exposed to just how things like differing cultures can affect relationships and marriage. In the beginning of the book, right from childhood, Davis experiences how differing cultures lead to alienation and beliefs which do not coincide with the norm. She develops relationships more easily with those she can identify with due to the fact that she is Italian-American. This stays with her for a large part of her life and is also the reason why she ends up with Gregori, her first husband, because he is Greek and lives in America. Through her description of her childhood, Davis is able to show the differences in her life from others. We see the way her family works as well as her beliefs. One of the beliefs mentioned many times throughout the memoir is the idea of “the evil eye.” There is a moment in the book where the rules of “the evil eye” is even broken down. It is fascinating just how much there is to this belief and how strongly Davis is affected by it. Family is a big part of how culture affects marriage. Many times Davis struggles with her family and that of Gregori’s. Whether it is because of religion such as when her son is born or death rituals like when Gregori’s father passes, we see the many differences expressed and even questioned. By the end of the memoir, we end up questioning many of these things along with Davis. These traditions are shown to be revered, but also not always practical. Davis specifically focuses on their effects on her relationships, for better or worse.

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