Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! You may think it could be a coincidence that I should be talking about the character the lover today when it is the day of love, well think what you will. I hope you all have a lovely day whether it’s being with your special someone, sharing an evening with friends or doing your own tradition on this special day. I will be doing the same tradition I have been doing for the past 5 years, since I have never been in a relationship or had a date for the day of love I decided to make my own special day. At the end of the day I come home with my favorite movie snack, popcorn with M&M’s- it is very good, trust me and my friend Stephanie McShurley introduced it to me – and I sit in my jim jams and watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. I do not get to watch all of it due to the fact that it is 6 hours long but I get through as much as I can bear or I fast forward through it. I love the interaction between Darcy and Elizabeth, watching Lydia make a fool of herself and seeing how Mr. Collins still gives me the creeps. The reason I do this is I am putting three of my loves together in one night; chocolate, Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy) and Jane Austen herself. Each hold a special place in my heart and it is my day to share with them. Anyways, without side tracking too much, on with the notes and comments about Faulks.
I was most keen and excited about this episode when it came on telly this past Saturday evening, it could be that the topic and theme of the lover is so apparent in the majority of the novels that I read or just the fact I enjoy a love story so much. The stereotypical approach it to would be it is because I am a female that I would love such thing as the lover; but that is not the case. I think it is the hopeless romantic in me that loves the idea of love and the person who is obsessed with it and becomes transformed by it, the lover. Since I am someone who could wrap their life around the idea and feeling of love I am immediately drawn to the lover. The program looks at the different forms of the lover and how they can be impacted by such a strong emotion. They can be varied since the lover can take many forms; male or female, obsession or mutual love, and evolutions of love between two people. The novels and characters that Faulks looks at are the following:
– Mr. Darcy; Pride &Prejudice by Jane Austen: It is said that Darcy is the ultimate lover since most women to this day still fantasize about him and being his “Elizabeth”. Even though he is flawed by his pride and arrogance, which hold him back from becoming the man we know we can be. It is with love; the love he has for Elizabeth that allows him to change into a better person. The book is about the battle of wits between Elizabeth and Darcy to see if they are matched for one another. Both are changed for the best in the end due to the love they have for another.
– Heathcliff; Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: Heathcliff is the perfect example to a lover who is consumed by the passion he has for another. He loves Catherine so much that he allows it to devour him and her along with it. Catherine eventually gets away realizing that his passion will be the end for both of them but it is her death that is the final blow to him. The love that Heathcliff has for Catherine will be his downfall. Unlike with Darcy where love was his savior, love for Heathcliff is his damnation. Even with Catherine being dead, his passion for her still consumes him when he begs her to haunt him for as long as she can; to always be around him. The book is a haunting approach to how love can be our destruction.
– Tess; Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: Tess is the lover that isn’t aware to the potential and attraction she gives off to becoming someone’s lover. Tess gives off a sexual appeal to the opposite sex that she is unaware that she has; which will become her downfall in the end. She longs for the love of a curtain man named Angel but this is not to be so. This is love that is not meant to be; there is a controversial scene in the novel that changes Tess so that she is unable to gain the love she so desires. She is reaching out to her lover but her lover is not reaching back. Whenever they get together, there is never the right moment or the timing is all wrong for the two young lovers. That with this wrong timing that our lovers will never get together. Love is all about timing and they never seem to find theirs.
– Connie; Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence: Lady’s Chatterley’s Lover is the first novel in major, popular fiction that has sex and love on the same pages. In the novel, Connie is a woman who is trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage and feels that her life is suffocating her. Her husband’s allows her to take a lover which ends up becoming her sanctuary. It is sex that ends up becoming the making of her and she finds her true self-worth from having a lover. Connie is able to rediscover who she is and will become by being with her lover. It is love and sex that saves her in the end and she is forever changed because of it.
– Maurice Bendrix; The End of the Affair by Graham Greene: This is a story where the lover or the process of having a lover has the opposite effect that Connie had. Maurice is having an affair with his best friend’s wife during the World War II blitzes in London, which during a time of sadness would be happy but this is not so. Maurice pictures his affair as being more glamorous than it really is; he is unable to enjoy the moments they have together. He is consumed but the idea of when it is to end, and he knows that it will end instead of just enjoying the company of a woman he is with. He is the anti-lover who hates and lacks the ability to love. The passion turns against itself and doesn’t allow it to grow and prosper.
– Anna, The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing: Anna is a single mother who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and she feels that men could be the answer. Anna has the picture of the ideal man that she longs for but she doesn’t want him for some reason and goes for the men who would never fit the bill. She is not concerned with finding love but more on the immediate satisfaction that sex could provide for her. She is confused by love and she does not understand who she should and would love. It does not give her the transformation that love does to someone; whether for good or bad. She is never able to witness it due to her lack of understand the emotion and the trapping of her own thoughts towards it.
– Nick, The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst: Nick Guest is a gay man living in 1980’s Notting Hill, who loves all things that are beautiful, looks for love in all that he sees. Nick is in love with the idea of being in love and does his best to make sure that it happens. With the few lovers that Nick has in the book, he is able to give his feelings freely and openly where as the other young men may not be so keen for doing so. Nick is fascinated by the ritual of courting, dating and love and seeks to find those in his daily life. There are believed to be similarities between the novel and Jane Austen’s works, but only that love and the adventure that one goes on to achieve it. Nick is the lover who ideals with the fantasy of being in love and being loved in return; longing for the days that he will find is one true half. He seems a bit more of a daydreamer or a hopeless romantic then the characterization of the lover itself.
I have read the majority of these novels and I am aware of how the image of the lover can be transformed and changed throughout time. It is love that can either give the lover power and strength or weaken them to a state they are not able to recover from. We also witness how the idea and image of the lover can change when sex is thrown in to give it a bit of spice. It can either bring them back from the brink of destruction or can damage them beyond means. It is the lover that most people can identify themselves with since we have all, at one point or another, have been in love, discovered it, or are in love and can understand the feeling of such a strong emotion. We all dream of having that ultimate love, that true love but it is up to us as the lover ourselves to allow that true love to happen. We must be willing to accept it when it comes, otherwise we will miss our chance. It is in all our beliefs that we hope that love with strength us and change us for the good, but as we have witnessed that may not always be the case. So my fellow lovers, let’s embrace the idea and emotion that we have been obsessed with since the beginning of time; love. Go out, love your fellow-man and allow that love to consume you and make you a better person!
The next episode looks at the character known as the snob; the character we all love to hate and would dread ever becoming or being labeled as one.
Wikipedia links to all the books:
– Heathcliff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuthering_Heights
Faulks on Fiction homepage: