Social Class has major affects on education, jobs, and the every day lifestyle of the average human being, but it also separates people from love. “Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story”, written by Russell Banks, describes a deep, confusing relationship between Ron and Sarah Cole. Homely Sarah falls for handsome Ron and a strong relationship grows between them. Once Sarah wants to show her love to the world, Ron is faced with his own sad realization that they are not compatible with the judgments from the outside world. In exploring societal pressures, Ron’s thought process, and Sarah’s craving for love, this essay proves that the love between Ron and Sarah cannot overcome class differences. Society considers the average person’s life to have “meaning” if they have a high-paying job, good looks, a nice house and car. Being that Sarah is poor, homely, and works at Rumford Press where she packs TV Guide magazines into boxes all day, and Ron is a handsome, wealthy lawyer, this makes their relationship nearly impossible. Ron makes a connection between a TV Guide, which he holds in his hands one night while at home, alone. "He'll think of the connection some other night, but by then the connection will be merely sentimental. It'll be too late for him to understand what she meant by 'different'”(9). It is here when Ron realizes that the two are from totally different worlds and Ron simply cannot find it in himself to make Sarah anything more than a temporary sexual encounter in his life. The law papers that Ron works with are significant in life, whereas the TV guide magazines that Sarah works with are petty and insignificant. Court dates and preparing for them are something people never forget, but TV guides are used for all their worth, just like Sarah. The relationship works only while they’re just staying in and making love at his apartment. It is only when they are naked that they are alike.
Two naked members of the same species, a male and a female, the male somewhat younger and less scarred than the female, the female somewhat less delicately constructed than the male, both individuals pale-skinned with dark thatches of hair in the area of their genitals, both individuals standing slackly, as if a great, protracted tension between them had at last been released(12).
Once they've slept together, their relation changes. She wants him to appear in public with her; he complies, but only around her friends, since he's a lawyer and prefers to keep his life private to his co-workers. Eventually, as their time together progresses, Ron seems to be scared or intimidated by the idea of Sarah wanting something more, and this is demonstrated by her invitation to meet her three children. Their love cannot overcome class differences here because this is the point they realize they are only equal when naked. Ron is starting to let the outside world’s opinion change his feelings towards Sarah and once his feelings are changed, their relationship plummets. The memory of Sarah is kept alive through Ron’s thoughts. Ron’s thought process when he speaks of Sarah is out of guilt. He feels horrible for what he has done to her because he honestly fell for her. He knew what he was doing when he left with her and took her to his apartment.
My concern then, when I was first becoming involved with Sarah, was merely with the moment, holding it, grasping it wholly, as if its beginning did not grow out of some other prior moment in her life and my life separately, and at the same time did not lead into future moments in our separate lives. … I did not know cruel this this was. When you have never done a thing before and that thing is not simply and clearly right or wrong, you frequently do not know if it is a cruel thing, you just go ahead and do it (5).
Ron is not attracted to Sarah; on the contrary, he is fascinated by the novelty of her appearance because she’s different than others.