Joy in the Morning (1965) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In 1927, Carl Brown marries Annie McGairy and goes to college but taking his young wife with him creates difficult challenges for both of them, for their parents back home and for the campus faculty.

  • Carl Brown and Annie McGairy are in love. Their Irish immigrant parents knew each other in the old country - and Carl's parents want better for their son than Annie, who was raised in the slums. When Annie runs away to marry Carl while he's at college, they have many difficulties, including a college Dean that frowns upon married couples, Carl's angry parents, Carl's jealousy, and Annie's own problems with her sexuality.

  • In 1927, young second generation Irish-American couple Carl Brown and Annie McGairy decide to get married despite things working against them. Those issues are many. Annie comes from a poor, uneducated and broken family, where her stepfather abuses her and is jealous of Carl, which in turn makes her mother throw her out. That abuse coupled with her otherwise sexual inexperience taints the way she views human interaction. His parents, who come from a working class background themselves, wanted Carl to marry into a respectable family. Because of Carl's promising future, they view Annie purely as a gold digger. Neither Carl or Annie have any money since Carl spends whatever he has on his law schooling, which still is paid for primarily by his parents and school loans. That schooling, and the job he gets as college grounds caretaker which comes with a small cottage for them to live in on campus, preoccupies his time. As their marriage progresses, there are further pressures. She becomes jealous of his past relationship with a co-ed, and with his college life in general which is foreign to her. Her association and friendship with Anthony Byrd, a homosexual florist, and with Bev Karter, a single mother who is in an extramarital relationship with Stan Pulaski, an older, married and generous man, fuels gossip which negatively affects Carl's view of her on-campus life. The one bright spot seems to be Annie unofficially and clandestinely auditing an English class, which feeds her thirst for knowledge. The question becomes if their marriage can withstand these and other pressures that come with marriage.



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