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The Typical Idea of Love Versus the Idea of a Romantic Love Presented in the Books Written by Charlotte Bronte

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George Smith did not know it, but he was about to meet the world’s most famous author. It was 1848. Currer Bell, author of Jane Eyre, was the most sought-after—and most mysterious—writer in the world. Even Smith, who edited and published the book, had never met the enigmatic author, a first-time novelist who had nonetheless turned down his suggestions for revision, thanking him for the advice, then announcing the intention to ignore it. Bell had been right, of course, and Smith wrong. The book, and Bell’s identity, was the talk of London. And now, a very small woman stood before Smith, clutching one of Bell’s letters in her hand

She was Currer Bell, she told him. She was the author of Jane Eyre.

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Here, it becomes more than clear that Jane would do anything to feel love and not hatred from those whom she loves. By feeling the love that she does from Helen and Miss Temple, Jane’s desire to feel loved enhances and she wants to feel this constantly. Moving forwards, when Jane meets Rochester, she fails to feel the same kind of love at the beginning. She realizes it takes time and that she needs to fight for it if she wants to feel the reciprocated love that she offers to those around her. Jane’s desire to love and be loved is strongly fulfilled by Helen and Miss Temple at her time at Lowood and this allows Jane to experience love for the first time

It was ultimately because of St. John that Jane realizes she was meant to be with Rochester. St. John is Jane’s long lost cousin who is portrayed as cold and mechanical. He loves Rosamond Oliver for her wealth and beauty but refuses to marry her because he claims she would make a horrible missionary wife. Although St. John is a very handsome, blonde hair, blue eyed man, Jane does not love him. When he proposes to her, Jane is tempted but also disgusted, for she thinks it is awfully wrong for him to want to marry someone whom he has no love for. When this happens, Jane hears Rochester’s cry and realizes she would be quite foolish if she did not go back to him. Gale Group says, “Jane’s ultimate rejection of hs offer of marriage and her response to Rochester’s call are a triumph of both her ethics and the emotional commitment she has to herself.” Jane knows it is not right to give into the temptation of marrying St. John and believes she belongs with Rochester. St John taught Jane not to settle for less than you deserve, and she knew she deserves better than his lovingless proposal. From experiencing many types of love, it all comes back to Jane and Rochester’s love. After living at Gateshead, being treated the way she was, Jane knows this is not how love is supposed to feel. Mrs. Reed was cruel and Jane would never want that for Rochester. From living at Lowood for eight years and feeling the love that she did from Helen and Miss Temple, Jane feels although this furthered her knowledge on the feeling of real love. She learns from them how to care for the ones you love and also how to protect them, but still how to stand up for herself and what she believes is right. Going back to Rochester for the second time after meeting St. John teaches Jane to accept the love we think we deserve and settle for nothing less. Rochester is the man who truly loves her, not St. John. After being with Rochester for the first time, Jane always feels like she is beneath him. Aaron Ho in Bloom’s Literature claims, “When Jane returns to Rochester, the equilibrium of their relationship has shifted.” From gaining more experience of what love is truly about, Jane knows that this time, the love she shares with Rochester is stronger, healthier and equal. Jane’s journey from Gateshead, when she is young, all the way to the Moor House, when she is wiser, taught her many things about love. Without her relationships with Mrs. Reed, Helen, Miss Temple and St. John, Jane never would have truly understood the concept of love and how to share it with Rochester. Mrs. Reed teaches Jane negative love, Helen and Miss Temple teach her unconditional love and St. John teaches Jane not to settle. In the end, Jane and Rochester’s love is liberating. Jane knows now to appreciate love. It is very unclear how Jane would have ended up where she is now if she never met all of these very important people. Bronte looks at the concept of love in a different light while writing this novel and she was sure to make it clear that love is never easy.

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The gothic genre of the novel filled with notes of romanticism represents the aesthetic stereotypes for revealing the concepts of unreciprocated love. Genre dictates the expression of love that stands beyond all social and historical norms. In this regard, the protagonist is depicted as the Gothic hero, Heathcliff, is subjected to established frames of expressing love as an internal and passionate feeling that will never die. So, his anger and desire for revenge is predetermined by the norms of artistic genre and values pursued by the writer (Botting, 1996, p. 178). However, Emily Bronte manages to combine Gothic horror with sentimental romance by presenting the individual passions about the loss of the beloved, a lost story of secular love (Botting, 1996, p. 178). Like in literary expression of love, songs about unrequited love serve to express affection and sexual desire of object. In particular, hip-hop songs are performed with sexual intent (Oland, 2003, p. 65)

This is explicitly seen through the lyrics: “I hold you in the night/ And wake to find you gone/ You’re running out of sight’/It’s so hard holding on/All alone in love” (Carey, 1988). Finally, the movie is an exclusive genre where feeling can perceived through envisions the feelings, emotions, and deeds of the main heroes (McCarty, 2004, p. 140). Here it should be stressed that a film genre is not a literary expression of unrequited love, but its metaphoric representation. In particular, film as “a web of metaphorical expressions allows us to capture in out analyses some of the ‘liveness’, volatility, and malleability of contemporary (post)generic configurations by hooking up understandings of film cognition with aesthetic and industrial aspects of the cinematic process” (Nelmes, 2003, p. 162). In this respect, Love Actually depicts unrequited love with regard to social and cultural norms and conceptions of modern reality. Summing up, different genres presented for a critical analysis (book, movie, and song) provide various dimensions of unrequited love that are predetermined by cultural, historic, and social contexts. Despite different representation of stereotypes about unreciprocated love, the thematic essence is still preserved, but attached to various artistic identities. Hence, historic context identifies the genres with regard to origins and natures of love with regard to various political and economic factors existing throughout of time. Seconds, cultural stereotypes enclosed in genre forms under consideration highlight the epochs and periods of appearance of artistic movements. Finally, social context is predetermined by social mobility and moral codes existed in this or that society. In general artistic identities have a great impact on representation of love in all genres under consideration providing different stylistic devices and public perceptions.

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On balance, love may very well be the most profound emotion we’ll ever experience. Whether platonic or romantic, fleeting or lifelong, love has the power to nurture meaningful relationships, shatter our hearts, teach important lessons, and change lives forever. So it’s no wonder that love is one of the most frequently delved-into themes in literature. It defies boundaries by appearing across all genres, age groups, and periods in history. And like in real life, the presence of love can make a story acutely heartfelt and memorable, regardless of the outcome.

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Love Actually, 2003. [Film] Directed by Richard Curtis. UK, USA: Universal Pictures.

McCarty, M. 2004. More Giants of Genre. US: Wildside Press, LLC.

Nelmes, J. 2003. An introduction to film studies. NJ: Routledge, 2003

Oland, P. P. 2003. The Art of Writing Love Songs. US: Allworth Communications, Inc. 2003.

Reis, H. T. and Rusbult, C. E. 2004. Close relationships: key readings. US: Psychology Press.

Weiten, W., Lloyd, M. A., Dunn, S. D., and Hammer, E. S. 2008. Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century. US: Cengage Learning.

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