Aesthetics Applied to the Theme of Love and Unreciprocated Love Essay (Critical Writing)

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Feb 11th, 2019


The Aim of Critical Analysis

The main purpose of the critical analysis is to disclose the artistic identity in different art forms (film, song, and movie) in order to unveil the topic of love and unreciprocated love. It is also necessary to critically evaluate an array of genre forms through the cultural, historical, and social perspective.

Hence, it is necessary to identify cultural epoch within which these art forms were created, social settings, and time spans to integrate the theme of unreciprocated love with different genre forms. More importantly, the paper should thoroughly analyze how those genres are intertwined with the concept of artistic identity.

The critical analysis should also disclose the theme in different aesthetic terms and appraise the impact of other disciplines on artistic representations of the problem. Therefore, it is necessary to present the chosen art forms as examples revealing the role of public perception of unreciprocated love in Mariah’s Carey’s song called All Alone in Love, movie Love Actually, and Emily Bronte’s gothic novel Wuthering Heights.

Overview of the Theme of Unreciprocated Love as presented in Mariah Carey’s All Alone in Love, movie Love Actually, and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights

The artistic genres (song, movie, and film) represent the problem of unrequited love, but the form of representation is supported by different devices (Baumeister and Wotman, 1994, p. 3). Moreover, all sources unveil different triggers of unrequited love within cultural, historic, and social context.

It should also be stressed that all artistic genres presented for analysis have their own peculiarities and tools for representing the unrequited love. The divergent representation is also predetermined by different cultural, historical, and social background. Hence, Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights represents unrequited love not as a noble and stoic willing to suffer in the name of love, but as passionate desire to possess the object of love and to take revenge on the sufferings the protagonist had to experience.

Due to the fact that the novel is written in the epoch of romanticism and classicism, the book depicts love as being dependent from economic and political aspect. Mariah Carey’s lyrics reveals the problem of one sided love where she provides her personal perception of unreciprocated as presented in hip-hop culture. Finally, a romantic comedy Love Actually represents a contemporary view on love as something deprived of social responsibilities and standards.

Segmentation of Love

Different historic, social, and cultural contexts influence the stereotypes of presenting divergent displays of love. Nevertheless, in order to grasp the essence of this emotional state, it is necessary to define the factors and components of the love itself.

Psychologically viewing the concept, love is composed of intimacy, passion, and commitment, which can be presented in different ratios (Reis and Rusbult, 2004, p. 216). Hence, intimacy identifies the closeness of relationships between people. It also shows the amount of love and affection in male-female relationships.

Passion and intimacy are closely intertwined and, therefore, the former may be aroused from the latter. Although passion develops immediately, it is often sustained by the intimacy component. If passion or emotional component prevails, intimacy is suppressed. In such cases, those two parts of love contradict each other because passion is, then, aimed to satisfy sexual desires (Reis and Rusbult, 2004, p. 217).

Finally, the third component stays far apart from passion and intimacy because it is more based on rational and intelligent perception of love. It is, therefore, based on assumption that the main function of love is to be loyal and sustain love. Due to the fact, that passion and intimacy in loving relationships can experience ups and downs, commitment is exactly the component that keeps those relationships going.

The importance and peculiarities of love components can be better disclosed through description of various kinds of love (Reis and Rusbult, 2004, p. 219). It is reasonable to assume that the absence of all components presuppose the state of non-love whereas the presence of those constitute the consummate form of love.

The intermediate forms mostly consists of two or event a single components. For instance, if is a romantic love, it is deprived of passion, but empty love presupposes the presence of commitment only. Fatuous love counts two components only – passion and commitment (Reis, and Rusbult, 2004, p. 220).

Taking all segments and kinds of love in more detail, it is easier to define the reasons and nature of unrequited love, but it is insufficient if taking into consideration different historic, cultural and social contexts that influence the creation of various stereotypes about love.

In particular, all those components are presented in different proportions with regard to time, habits, traditions, social, and cultural settings. Judging from those assumptions, romantic love as presented in art genres under consideration embraces attachment and intense fascination when both lovers are separated (Weiten et al, 2008, p. 254). However, temporary factors affect the rise of commitment and decline of passion. In other words, reason has become more prevalent over emotions.

The Classification of Unreciprocated/ One Sided Love

Integrate ‘Unreciprocated/ One sided Love’ with art forms and genres

Unreciprocated love people experience may be delivered via a number of different forms and genres. Love is a feeling and when a person suffers from unreciprocated love, he/she tries to relieve the pain by means of telling it to the whole world.

It is impossible to quarrel that when one tells about the problems to another person, it becomes easier. There are a lot of different forms of unreciprocated love expression as well as genres. It is crucial to mention that the forms of one side love expression may vary. Thus, one of the first ways to express unreciprocated love was a song.

Those who fell in love but were not loved tried to create and sing odes. The expression of unreciprocated love in the form of songs remains till now. A book was the next form of unreciprocated love expression. If a person loved but his/her feelings were ignored, one could write a poem or a story to tell the world about the problem. Writing form of feelings expression appeared later. Different romantic situations and love stories, either real or imaginary became to appear on the shelves of book stores.

Even though a song and a book are the earliest ways of feelings expression, they still remain popular with the only difference in genres which have significantly changed. Movie is considered to be the latest form of love expression. Movie managed to combine both the intonation of music and long story of a book. Watching a movie people should not imagine something, they see all on their screens. The appearance of movie made it possible to deliver the pain and loss of unreciprocated love better and more emotionally.

Turning to the genres of art where unreciprocated love is expressed, it should be mentioned that there is no epoch where people did not fall in love, suffer from unreciprocated love and try to express those feelings in different forms. The genres of music vary: blues, country, rap, rock, hip-hop, country, R&B, jazz and many others.

Literature genres are also different, comedy, novel, tragedy, short story, etc. Documentary, westerns, romantic comedies, horror films and others are the genres for movies. It conclusion, it is crucial to mention that there are at least one example of the unreciprocated love expression in each of the mentioned genres as even the horror films and rock music are created under the inspiration and one side love may be one of those inspirers.

Historical context

The understanding of love was absolutely different in different times. Thus, people in ancient times considered different types of love depending on the place of their residence. Buddhist conception of love presupposed two different ways, “unfortunate kind of love” and “good kind of love” (Knox & Schacht, 2009, p. 54). There were the cases of reciprocated and unreciprocated love.

Medieval Epoch is more complicated in this sense as more and more marriages were based on economical relations (Knox & Schacht, 2009, p. 55). During these times ballads appeared as the way to tell a person that he/she is loved. It should be mentioned that ballads were absolutely incomparable with the modern music as ballads were unaccompanied, homophonic and based on modes (Hodgart, 2006, p. 49).

The love expression in literature was also important in the historical context of unreciprocated love expression. Gothic literature was greatly supported with Romantic writers. Taking Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte as the example, it may be concluded that this Gothic piece of writing deeply considers the problem of one side love.

The love of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw is great up to the time when they live in the similar social layers. Later, when Catherin learns and receives better manners, she pushes away Heathcliff. The combination of horror scenes and pain from one side love makes the novel more exciting. The expression of love in movies is the most recent way of doing it. Still, it is possible to depict any time and reproduce any scene.

Cultural context

Considering the movie Love Actually, the song All Alone in Love by Mariah Carey, and the book Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, it may be concluded that all of them are presented in different cultural context. Thus, Love Actually (2003) is a romantic comedy which shows the modern time and how love is actually considered.

Watching this funny and interesting comedy one may laugh and become sad. One of the main ideas one may consider out of it is one side love by the example of Juliet, Peter and Mark. It is important to mention that modern culture influences the feeling great and Mark does not hide his feeling to Juliet too much. In the song by Mariah Carey, she expresses her idea that women are allowed to show their feelings (Carey, 1990).

Modern culture does not forbid women express their love and suffer from unreciprocated feeling. On the contrary, the story told in the book by Bronte shows that women were forbidden to tell what they felt at the end of the 18th century. The main reason of the tragedy is that Heathcliff and Catherin never knew that loved, thinking that it was one side feeling (Brontė, 2010). They could not withstand it, so the end of the story is so sad.

Social and Religious context

The very same reason may be related to social and religion problem discussed in the story. Living at the end of the 18th century, women were forbidden to express their feelings and especially show those to men first. It was considered as bad manners if a woman turns to a man with expression of love. It was also impossible to show love to a married man or woman. Moreover, it was time when religion played an important role in human life.

The movie also shows social relations of people and their attitude to religion. Living in the modern world, people are more relaxed and freer in their personal relations. Still, some social norms may be a restriction to free expression of love. For example, Juliet is Peter’s wife, and Mark is his friend. Mark cannot do it with friend, he cannot freely express his feelings, especially being in the church on Christmas.

The song, as well as the movie, makes it possible to say that modern understanding of one side love and male-female relations are not based on any prejudices and social rules. Singing about being alone, being abandoned, Mariah Carey just expresses her feelings without the fear to be misunderstood. It should be stated that the assumptions of social distance influence human behavior greatly.

Modern social relations are less restricted, the norms are freer and people are given an opportunity to communicate with others on the basis of their understanding of morality. Unrestricted love has always been and will always be, as well as the forms of its expression which remain the same. The genres may differ due to the changes which occur in the world, but it does not change the main idea of the expression of personal pain and regret about relations.

Critical Analysis of the Artistic Values and Impact of the Works Given to Illustrate the Aesthetic Expression of Unreciprocated Love Includes Interference

As it has been mentioned previously, different means of expression of love were predetermined by different ideas and goals pursued by artistic genres. Hence, unrequited love in Emily Bronte’s gothic novel is expressed through depiction of landscapes and cultural setting that complement the overall aesthetic perception of unrequited love, which is based on attraction and compulsive separation of the lovers.

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.

Reference List

Baumeister, R. F. and Wotman, S. R. 1994. Breaking Hearts: The Two Sides of Unrequited Love. US: Guilford Press.

Botting, F. 1996. Gothic. NJ: Routledge.

Brontė, E. 2010. Wuthering Heights. London: Collector’s Library.

Carey, M., 1990. All Alone In Love [Song]. USA: Columbia.

Hodgart, M. J. C., 2006. The Ballads. New York: READ BOOKS.

Knox, D. & Schacht, C., 2009. Choices in Relationships: An Introduction to Marriage and the Family. Stamford: Cengage Learning.

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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