6th Hour English 11
November 14, 2012
It’s the little things in life that can make a day. Whether it be someone saying bless you after a sneeze or a nice smile from a fellow peer in the hallway. These actions of love towards one another happen everyday, but there are a small portion of true love. Love can be the most powerful emotion a character can feel and can drive them to make sacrifices as it controls them. This feeling of love is present in three texts I have read; The Crucible, The Sun Also Rises, and Taking Emily Dickinson’s Clothes Off. Characters in these books make rash decisions because of the power of love.
In the Crucible, love occurs causing characters to perform irrational actions.The first and most obvious one you can spot out is the love between John Proctor and Elizabeth his wife. At first we discover that John has cheated on her causing her to have no trust for him. Depressed, which is understandable because getting cheating on will hurt a person, she ignores John. First of all, cheating on your wife can make you serve jail time in the type of society The Crucible portrays, so the fact she hasn’t told anyone makes me view her as a strong trustworthy women. She says this when talking to John one night, “I think you be somewhat ashamed, for I am there, and she so close.” John denies this comment, so Elizabeth says, “Then go to tell her she’s a whore. Whatever promise she may sense, break it, John, break it” (62). Even though she might not admit it, Elizabeth has already forgiven John, even if he never technically tells Abigail she’s a whore. The love has taken over and she wants to forget about the whole thing. So in the beginning her trust for John is not there but she knows she can’t let him go because the love takes over and controls her. Elizabeth, even after being cheated on and betrayed by her husband, has regained trust because of love. John has either a choice between his scandalous so called “love” with Abigail or his love with the one that has been there through it all, the up and downs. The choice is quite simple for him choosing Elizabeth. Unfortunately because of a plot twist, in the end their love actually separates them. In court John tells everyone (Elizabeth was not in the room to hear) that he has slept with Abigail and that she is a whore. When Elizabeth is brought in to confirm this story, she lies to protect John’s image because she knows telling the truth will put John in jail. In any normal circumstance Elizabeth would have told the truth, but because of the love she has towards John, she lies hoping to keep him safe. But because she lies about the whole story, John is taking away to jail. The author then uses sorrowful tones to create a sad image of heartbreak. Elizabeth knows that his husband will be put to death and it kills her inside because of the ever so fierce love between them. We can relate to this through a death of a loved one. The feeling is something not easy to describe but can bring you feeling so down that it could spiral into depression. Love that is torn apart from death, divorce, or any other event will affect a character because of how powerful the feeling it is.
As love affects characters in The Crucible, it also affects characters in The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. Jake, the main character, makes countless sacrifices to please the one he loves. Jake is in love with the beautiful but promiscuous Lady Brett Ashley. Through actions in the book, it is clear that he puts her issues, her worries, her life before his own only because of love. It shows what characters are willing to give up for love. Jake has accepted rejection from Brett many times but he stays persistent. She has blown off dates with him but he brushes off his shoulders and doesn’t get upset. Sacrifices like these are only a few examples of what Jake does because of love. Brett loves Jake but she will never be with him for one reason. Jake had an injury in the war enabling him to have sex. She will not give up sex because she says this will cause her to cheat on him for the pleasure. Even after all of the sacrifices Jake makes for Brett she will not give up sex. “Oh Jake, we could have had such a damned good time together” said Brett. “Yes isn’t it pretty to think so” (251). This is the last line from the book, leaving the reader wondering. Why wouldn’t Lady Brett give up sex to be with the one she truly loves? It’s something that we can think about from our point of view. Would you give up sex to be with one you loved? Everyone will have a different opinion which is why American literature is such an awesome genre, making you think of human nature. Love through this book is sad knowing that Jake can never be happy, but it shows how powerful love is as he can not let Brett go.
The final text I analyzed was Taking Emily Dickinson’s Clothes Off. This is a double entendre poem written by Billy Collins. In the poem the author is literally taking Emily Dickinson’s clothes off but he also is stripping down the meaning of her poems. If you don’t know anything about Emily Dickinson, she doesn’t get out much and doesn’t open up to many people. She is quiet, shy, but intelligent, writing thousands of poems that have hidden meanings that take true skill to comprehend. I believe Emily Dickinson opened up because of love. It wasn’t true love but a different kind of love. It is the love you feel towards another person that you find attractive. This love may not be what people believe as true love, but it is just as powerful. For Emily Dickinson to open up like that and have this man take her cloths off, (open up the meanings to her poem) the love must have been persuading. “So I could hear her inhale when I undid the very top hook-eye fastener of her corset” (39-41). This part of the poem is when she lets go. She lets the love take over and reveals the messages to him, almost setting herself free of the heavy load she’s carried for sometime now. The guilty pleasure takes over as she can no longer keep up a forcefield. I believe this is the only time you could honestly see a person and know their true character.Once you fall in love with someone then you know who they are but until then trying to “analyze” them may not be easy as people try to fit in everyday.
The power of love is present in all three texts. Whether it be making sacrifices for someone else, putting down the brick wall opening up to others, or forgiving someone even after they have treated you poorly. We can’t control love as it happens unconditionally in our lives. It can make us happy, sad, depressed, angry, joyful, cry, scream, anything emotion you can think of, because it is so powerful. Trying to stop love is not easy and is almost impossible. Before I end my essay, I came up with my own analogy of how love can be related to American literature. Love is like a fire, starting out weak but quickly spreading tall and wide with glorious colors. Trying to put out the fire is hard as it remains hot and burning, getting fuel everyday from the little things in life. The coals on the bottom become so hot as the fire becomes almost invincible. This is love as it can take over someones life and control them.