What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Love is a word that is often overused and sometimes underappreciated. And despite the confusion some people have in separating romantic love from sensual pleasure, or real love from friendship -- love is among the most powerful ideas in the world. Given all the tension and hatefulness in the world, it is the opinion of this paper that any love is good love, no matter how bizarre or byzantine it may appear to society.

The widely diverse and dissimilar kinds of love that writer Raymond Carver alludes to in his short story simply reflect the vast chasm between one personality and the next. It may seem blatantly obvious to say this, but individual approaches to love -- and reflections on love -- are of course based on each person's life experiences. Bob Dylan wrote a song -- "Love is Just a Four-Letter Word" -- that has an ironic twist to it, but is wholly appropriate because love can turn to another four-letter work, hate. Moreover, love can turn just as easily into pain (another four-letter word). There are people I know who think they love each other but in fact they are just friends who love to party, have sex, and travel together while pretending to be locked in a romantic relationship.

In my own life my parents were often seen kissing in the kitchen while mom was cooking dinner. She would call out dad's name and he would go into the kitchen -- where the wonderful smells of her cooking filled the air and spread throughout the house -- not to have him help her with some task, but rather to kiss him. My bedroom was on the
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other side of the thin wall from my parents' bedroom and they clearly had a great sensual relationship to go along with their fondness and publicly shown affection.

On the other hand, one of my best friends in high school had parents who stayed together to raise their family albeit they didn't seem to like each other at all. I would visit my friend to shoot some hoops in his back driveway and you could hear his parents fighting like cats and dogs. My friend told me his parents had separate bedrooms, and that they each cooked their own meals. This kind of love is based on a married couple whose only goal is to raise their children as healthy, worthy people. Another friend's parents were sweet to each other in words and deeds, and were seen holding hands at the high school football game.

Still another friend had parents who were "swingers"; and while they loved one another and showed affection often, they engaged in sexual activities with multiple partners. That was a strange kind of love, but nonetheless, it was love.

TWO: Meanwhile, on the subject of strange love, on page 140 of Carver's story Terri reports that even though her first husband Ed apparently beat her up and dragged her around the room, he loved her. "He may have acted crazy," Terri insisted, "…but he loved me." In addition to his violent behavior vis-a-vis Terri, Mel was threatened often by Terri's first husband. But Terri's love for him was unconditional; we know that because she was at his bedside when he passed away (after he had shot himself in the mouth). Interestingly at the outset of the story Mel, the doctor, is saying "real love" was just "spiritual love," which is quite vague and indecisive.

Between descriptions of Terri's out-of-control former partner, Carver (p. 141) slips…

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Works Cited

Carver, Raymond. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. New York: Random

House, 2009.

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