Study Guide

Marty Age


TERESA: You gonna die without a son.

With each stage of life comes a new set of expectations your parents foist upon you.

VIRGINIA: [...] she begins poking her head over my shoulder here and poking her head over my shoulder there, so then she begins telling me how I waste money and how I can't cook, and how I'm raising my baby all wrong, so she got me so nervous, I spilled some milk I was making for the baby...

Is it Virginia's youth that makes Catherine totally cool with nitpicking her mothering skills?

TERESA: Marty, she's a lonely old lady. Nobody wants her. Everybody's throwing her outta their house...

How is age connected to desirability here?

MARTY: My boss wants to sell his shop to me. His kids are all married, you know, and he and his wife live alone, and they wanna move out to California where his daughter lives, so he wants to sell his shop.

In Marty, as a person gets older, they seem to have to make room for the young kids coming up.

CATHERINE: I got pains in my shoulder too. I have a pain in my hip, and my right arm aches so much I can't sleep. It's a curse to be old. How you feel?

Is it just us, or do you get the feeling that Catherine would be straight-up offended if her sister said that she was feeling right as rain?

CATHERINE: So I am an old garbage bag, put in the street.

Not just any garbage bag. An old one. Useless, and old, and abandoned. In this movie, age certainly seems to go along with loneliness, doesn't it?

CATHERINE: I'm afraid to look in a mirror. I'm afraid I'm gonna see an old lady with white hair, like the old ladies in the park, little bundles in a black shawl, waiting for the coffin.

There's got to be a stage between "empty nest" and "six feet under" but Catherine sure seems convinced there isn't. Why has that changed so much since this movie was made, do you think?

MARTY: You know how long ago I graduated high school? June, 1937. Holy cow! June, 1937! What is that? Fifteen, seventeen years ago! Holy cow! Seventeen years ago! Is that right? Seventeen, that's right. Where did it all go? I'm getting old. I'm gonna be thirty-five November eighth. Thirty-five. Wow. Time goes on, boy.

Is it easier to notice time passing—and your own aging—when you're alone? Or when you suddenly find yourself in the company of someone quite charming?

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