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Theme Of Love In A Lover's Discourse By Eugenude

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Love is a type of language, feeling, and action that is universal, yet so unclearly defined. The earliest form of love that can be felt and expressed usually takes place in the family. Through maturation, love is introduced in a different light, one that is often romanticized and idealized. Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse and Jeffrey Eugenides’ “Extreme Solitude” provide their own, realistic take on love. However, they do not explicitly define love, but attempt to describe it in the most familiar way to the audience: in the perspective of a lover. Though love is a type of interpersonal relationship, it is essentially intrapersonal as humans cannot share the emotions of another. In “Extreme Solitude,” the idea of portraying a particular…show more content…
Through her struggle “with how she felt about him and how she couldn’t tell anyone [...]” (Eugenides 63), Madeleine falls into a realistically difficult love. While waiting for a phone call from Leonard, she reads a passage from A Lover’s Discourse, and finds comfort and validity of her instability and loneliness. However, Madeleine becomes almost distracted by that notion as she grows complacent with her solitude, failing to realize the feelings of Leonard, the one she is in love with. Furthermore, the short story is told through the third person limited point of view, making the readers only able to see Madeleine’s view. Through Madeleine’s descriptions of Leonard, rather than receiving a characterization of Leonard, the attributes and values of Madeleine can be seen even clearer. For example, as Madeleine described herself to be “[...] felt carefully handled, like something precious or immensely fascinating” (Eugenides 66) by Leonard, she not only…show more content…
The success of love is essentially when there is a give-and-take, which is where troubles lie as the reciprocality of love can never be known until the risk of confession is taken. However, love does not end in a happily-ever-after with the achievement of this success, as can be seen with Madeleine’s continued friction with her relationship with Leonard. A Lover’s Discourse provides comfort for Madeleine in her early stages of her love as a text that describes the real, negative sensations of being a lover. However, because of its broad language, it could even be applied to those in relationships, where love is reciprocated, not necessarily exclusive to ones pursuing it. For instance, when Barthes describes the feelings of a lover in a public space with the company of others and still longing for the lover (Barthes 17), the same feelings are shown with Madeleine as she feels mentally detached from Leonard (Eugenides 66). This is even after Madeleine declares that Leonard had made their relationship official, which affirmed her success in attaining reciprocality. Loneliness and isolation from the lover continues on even in the relationship, which cause the focus of love to be put on the intrapersonal aspects. In the case of Madeleine, she became increasingly absorbed in her own feelings as she felt more anxious in her relationship. Ultimately, she decides to go show
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