Love is a personal issue that attracts public debate with each person giving it their own approach as understood or experienced in the past. The two stories herein look into people in search of love and another set, a group of people trying to understand the love they have experienced in the past. There are depiction of people trying to get into terms with what love is and trying to experience it at their best.
There is no universal definition of love or a universal way of experiencing love within the society or a place where love can best be experienced on the face of the earth.
Love in L.A
The short story is presented in a fast paced speed with events unfolding fast and close to each other. It revolves around Jake driving an old car on the free way with the traffic congestion not making things any easy for him. He was in a terrible state financially and was preoccupied with how life can be good if there were a few provisions added to what he has. He was in reveries over living an exotic lifestyle and this distracted him from concentration on the road with unpleasant results for him. Things quickly move from good memories to terrible realities as he rams into the new Toyota in front of him and leaves a dent on rear and a broken tail-light even after great efforts to swerve of and avoid hitting him from the rear. It is at this point that Jake tries to play out his charming self to convince the lady owner of the Toyota car that he hit to forgive him to no avail. He quickly scales up the conversation and feigns a celebrity status as an actor and musician to win over the lady, Mariana, into forgiving him yet Mariana cannot have any of these. The lies balloon when Mariana insists on having Jake's details and Jake has now to gibe false address, wrong telephone number and even a fake plate number. Deep within him he feels sorry for the lady that he ahs to lie to her about such details and indeed he even never had a legitimate insurance but nevertheless provided an insurance name. As they prepare to drive apart having exchanged personal details and agreeing to report the issue to the insurance instead of settling it between themselves, Mariana notes down the registration plate number of Jake's car, which too comes to unfold to the reader that is an invalid plate number that was yanked from another car and pinned up on the car Jake was driving just for convenience. What counts to Jake is the ending where the lady agreed to give him the phone number and actually asked Jake to call her, Mariana had fallen in love. Jake sinks into his car seat and feels duality of feeling; sad that he had to give so much false information on an innocent lady, and proud that he at last managed to win the love of the beautiful lady he bumped into by accident, literally. The reader is also left with mixed emotions and moods of a fast paced narrative that tends to exhibit Jake as a con artists who is sly in action and slippery in words, but again tends to persuade the reader to empathize with the situation Jake was in, indeed with his current state, most likely broke and jobless, there was little chance that he would be able to fix the car even if he gave honest details, a case of necessary evil (Gild D., 1950).
What We Talk about When We Talk about Love
Mel and Terri who was the wife had invited narrator of the story, Nick and Laura who was the wife. The story is presented through a first person narration where the persona or the narrator presents the reader with events and conversations that were going on around Mel's kitchen table where the four of them were seated taking gin and passing time as they discussed issues to do with love. Though the narrator is used by the writer to present the story, he takes a highly docile role as a narrator and instead allows Mel, who was a heart surgeon and the host to do most of the talking around the table on matters love.
Apparently, both Terri and Mel had been married to other partners before they got engaged and got married four years now, the same applied to the narrator and Laura the wife since they were in other relationships before they got married. Terri and Mel seem to be the ones who are very much concerned with understanding the concept of love, with Terri romanticizing love in whichever form it came and on the other hand, Mel criticizing the whole concept of love in whichever form it came. Terri narrates of the brutal former husband who used to drag her across the floor hitting her head all over objects in the house while professing to love her as he brutalized her. Terri goes ahead to further indicate that it was because of the Love Ed, the former husband had for her, that he actually shot himself, he died for love. On the other hand, Mel does not agree that it was love that made Ed to batter Terri and even end up dying through a gunshot to his own mouth. Mel mocks Ed and even makes jokes of him on how his head swelled from the bungled suicide shot to his mouth, he takes it lightly that Ed died and castigates him that it was not love that made him die, though Terri does not agree and thinks otherwise.
The second instance that tries to elaborate on the issue of love and depicting Mel's take on love was the story of an old couple that were rammed into by a teenager who was driving while drunk and died on impact leaving the elderly couple with multiple injuries. They went through the operations and at last had to be covered in casts and bandages. This made it impossible for the man to turn and see the wife who was in worse shape than him, this inability to turn and take a glance at the wife he loved depressed him and he kept telling this to Mel while on routine check of the ailing couple. Mel never saw this as anything serious and made joke out of the entire episode (Carver R., 1981).
Love in LA is a classical love story only this time with a twist. Many women would love to meet a well mannered and financially stable men but this is not the case in this love story where Jake is the opposite. He is depicted as a young man engrossed in his thoughts of the ideal car and expensive lifestyle yet he was jobless. His sexual advances and thirst is depicted by him fondling the dimple he caused by ramming into Mariana's car and commenting that the cars of late are so soft that they would replace waterbeds some day, another strong indication of his sexual advances with the hope of winning over Mariana. On the other hand, the second story depicts grown up characters who have no zeal to actually solicit for love or have sexual gratifications but to understand the entire concept of love and what constitutes it.
Jake in Love in LA is also seen as a womanizer who picks up the accident as an opportunity to seduce the lady, indeed he does things in calculated move and time with the hopes of delaying the lady more and more to get the chance to convince her for a date. He is also depicted as a contrived and witty fellow who uses his charm to try and win the heart of Mariana. He is fast with words and sly for that matter, upon the lady asking for his license, he quickly feigns to have forgotten it in his trouser pocket and quickly asserts that he is a musician, all in a bid distract the lady and win her heart and body for personal sexual pleasure. Jake strives to get love even if it means feigning celebrity status and other positive admirable qualities. On the other hand, the Carver's story concentrates more on characters who try to be real and practical in the issue of love, they are not feigning anything to get love but opening up even about their previous relationships and love pursuits to be able to understand love before they continue in the life journey of love.
The short story is fast paced and predominantly dialogue, this is intentionally used by the writer to show the kind of lifestyle that young people like Jake would like to have,…
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