The Proposal

Increasingly, in the new age of social media, marriage proposals have become more about the people watching the couple than the couple themselves. People have become hyper-fixated on getting the perfect photo to share to all their friends and family. The pressures that have been placed on people by social media may make people feel as though their lives must look “perfect” at all times. This translates to all aspects of like, including relationships. As Kitchener mentions, many times couples will have conversations about marriage prior to engagement to retain the element of surprise needed to execute a perfect romantic moment worthy of a proposal in today’s day and age. This begs the question of wether or not the proposal is even necessary. 

“Symbolic gendering”, mentioned by Kitchener, also plays a large role in why heterosexual couples feel the need to plan elaborate proposals. The ideas Kitchener discusses in her article directly translate to Chekov’s play. The couple in the play are very obviously not well suited to each other, yet end up engaged to be married by the end of the story. Their adversity is ultimately overshadowed by Natalya’s excitement at being proposed to. One can image the expectations that are placed in young women’s minds about a such an event from the time they are children. This prompts Natalya to beg her father to make Ivan return to the house to ask for her hand, regardless of the hurtful things that had been said prior. The drama of the perfect proposal is seemingly more important to the couple than the reality of what it will mean to be married.

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