Storybook Love: Realistic or Fantasy? Essay example

Submitted By ashesofnayru
Words: 1409
Pages: 6

Storybook love: Realistic or Fantasy? In his book The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm dives deep into defining the word “love” and it’s multiple interpretations, experiences, and the relationships included. One aspect he touches on is the difference between mature and immature love. As he begins to define the love relationship between parent and child he defines that immature love follows the philosophy of “I love you because I need you” while mature love says “I need you because I love you” (38). Using Fromm’s ideas, the characters and their situations in Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” portray themselves to be very realistic in their attitudes and ways of thinking. In Carver’s story, the two characters who expose themselves the most are the married couple Mel and Terri McGinnis. I found both character’s experiences and opinions to be realistic compared to real life scenarios and people. Mel has gone through situations that many people in today’s culture have lived through first hand. Being divorced and remarried has given him strong opinions on what love should look like, but has also confused him on what it is exactly, and how it should be defined. Millions of people today go through divorces, and for some it is an answer and for others it is just another aspect of life that leaves them questioning. I think Mel is portraying the people in life who are successful and seem to have it figured out, but realizes himself that there are just too many questions in this life, especially on the subject of love. This can be shown when he begins to question what happened to the love he used to feel for his now ex-wife. “’There was this time I thought I loved my first wife more than life itself. But now I hate her guts. I do. How do you explain that?’” (Abcarian and Klotz 746). I think almost everyone in today’s society can relate to this feeling in some way, myself included. Growing up humans connect with one another on multiple levels that are meaningful in one way or another. Whether it be friendship, family, romantic or some type of negative relationship we are together. It is not uncommon that we do not maintain a relationship with many of the people we connect to, or at least not in the same way over time. Through different situations, external or internal, we may lose friends we once held close, or break up with a significant other. Everybody goes through this in life, and we may not always understand why. We grow curious as to what happened to the feelings and thoughts we used to once share, and what happened to drive us apart from somebody. This is what the character Mel is discussing and trying to understand in the story. This is why I feel his attitude and his thoughts on the subject are very realistic compared to our world. His wife, Terri, is also someone who I find to be realistic in her outlooks on love. She seemed to be a bit more open-minded than her husband when it came how humans experience and show love. She brings up her neurotic and abusive ex- boyfriend Ed, who she feels just had a different way of showing his love. She felt that he loved her, but could only show his outlook of love by being abusive. Her argument against her husband was that “people are different” (742). Personally, in a small way I agree with her. I believe that everyone is different and depending on their background and personal beliefs have their own ways of showing love towards others. Not to say that I condone abusive actions, but I think love just has a different meaning to different people depending on what they were surrounded by. Many times I feel that people just don’t know better. They never had a positive influence to teach them the difference between right and wrong and grow up in their negative environment and let it define them. So not that I could agree on Ed’s display of ‘love’ towards Terri, but I could understand that he probably did not have a good example of what tender