What interests me most about Purity, is its ability to represent love, relationships, and emotions in an extremely authentic manner. This is what I want to write about for my “final project,” thus, I wanted to blog about love and its representation in Purity versus the representation of love in most of the modern day fiction novels being crafted.
Franzen gives the true depiction of what love means as he writes, “don’t talk to me about hatred if you haven’t been married. Only love, only long empathy and identification and compassion, can root another person in your heart so deeply that there’s no escaping your hatred of her, not ever; especially not when the thing you hate most about her is her capacity to be hurt by you. The love persists and the hatred with it. Even hating your own heart is no relief” (462).
The quotation above is not the most romantic piece of text. The writing is surely not the most mesmerizing or containing of any “mushy gushy” language. I believe the quotation, to the best of its ability, tries to give the best depiction of love and marriage. Love is not easy, simple, or avoidable. We, as humans, do not get to pick what we do and do not feel for to some degree. Real, authentic, and genuine love embodies all of the human’s ability to feel. You cannot have love without hatred. You cannot have happiness without despair.
I think modern fiction novels, media, and TV / movies have left the average individual with an unrealistic expectation of what love and marriage is and requires. The divorce rate in the United States is around 50%… Half of the marriages or couples you look at walking down the street or in the store will not be together by the end of their life stories. That is an extremely saddening statistic, and I, unfortunately, have experienced it first hand. I do not blame the people falling victim to divorce or ability to “not love correctly.” I blame the way love is portrayed in the world we live in. Pieces of work like Fifty Shades of Grey are changing individuals, especially the younger generations, expectations of love. Franzen, in Purity, portrays love in the “correct” way in my opinion. It is not always rainbows and butterflies, and love certainly is not the only way to fix marriages. Marriages require commitment. Day after day commitment until the end. Marriages require trust, a trust that is lived and breathed every day by the two individuals sharing the bond together.
To end, I had to include one of my favorite stories, which I also think does a magnificent job of depicting real love. The quotation comes from The Little Prince, a story by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, which has been translated in English.
“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”
Love comes from the commitment you give to the person, It comes from the time you give the person. Love spurs from the ability to wake up everyday and deal with the rose’s largest flaws, and still continue to water her for her beauty. Purity at least attempts to depict love, emotions, and real day-to-day struggle with authenticity, and not all writers can say the same.