The Theme of Love: “The Two Kinds,” “The fall of the house of usher,” and “Hill Like White Elephants.” Essay
The Theme of Love
There is love in the three short stories. In the “Two Kinds” there is some love between the mother (Suyuan) and daughter (Jing Mei) (Tan, 2006). In the “Hill’s Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway some love abounds between the American man and the pregnant girl.
This story is about the way self-interest can ruin the love that people have nurtured for a long time. In “the fall of the house of usher” there is love between Roderick and his twin sister Madeline. The love has also been strengthened by their illnesses. This paper specifically discuses the theme of love in the three short stories. More especially, the way love is advanced or frustrated by the characters.
The “Two Kinds”
Love that is evidenced in this short story is parental love. This love is depicted in the way the mother prevails upon her daughter to succeed in her studies. This is depicted in the way her mother says, “If you work hard you can achieve your dream here in America,” she added, “of course, you could be prodigy too” (Tan, 2006, p. 132).
However, the daughter took her mothers advice literally. She responded, “You want me to be someone I’m not,” she continued, “I will never be the kind of daughter you want me to be.” “Only two daughters,” she shouted, “those who are obedient and those who can follow their mind, the only daughter who can live in this house is the obedient one” (Tan, 2006, p. 132).
In as much Jing-mei was feeling that her mother never loved her because she was dictating or forcing her to do things she did not like, their bond was strong (Tan, 2006). This is seen in the way she reacted when her mother passed on. Jing-mei started to recognize that what her mother was telling her was right.
The death of her mother functioned as an eye opener for her. In the story it indicated that “she looked back over the music that she had previously rejected and discovered something that she had never noticed” (Tan, 2006). The two songs were the “Perfectly Contented,” the “Pleading Child.” However, upon examining these songs, she realized that they were two different parts of just one song.
It is motherly love that her mother does not want her daughter to go through the sufferings such as—the misfortune of losing kids, the fear and privations of conflicts, as well as the challenges encountered when settling in a different culture (Tan, 2006). That is why her mother has taken the initiative to ensure that her daughter becomes a genius and standing tall amongst other children in America.
Apparently, from her conduct, she is not a genius. This is because geniuses have innate abilities and work only under slight guidance or supervision. As the author indicates, Jing-mei even refused to practice the piano. If she were a genius, this should have been something that would have fascinated her.
The fall of the house of usher
Love is evident in this short story (Poe, 2011). More especially is revealed in the way characters deal with situations or they way react when dealing with their spouses. In the poem “The Raven,” Poe’s love is reveled. Poe’s love for his beloved wife, Virginia, is revealed when she died.
It is indicated that Poe was traumatized by her demise. It is also indicated that her death became an everyday motif in his undertaking. This statement stresses the degree of love that the two had. In other words, it was almost inseparable and no of them could do without the other.
There is also brotherly love in this novel. There is a strong love between Roderick and his sister, Madeleine. It is indicated that Roderick “affectionately loved his sister” (p. 42). There affection is also based on the fact that they are twins. As the author puts, they have “an outstanding semblance” (p. 46). That is, they behaved in a way that someone could easily say they had one soul in two different bodies.
“Hill Like White Elephants”
This short story revolves around the theme of love and responsibility (Benson, 1990). The author has used abortion to show how much the American man loves her pregnant girlfriend named Jig. However, the love showed by the American man is selfish. That is, he does not extent it beyond his girlfriend. This is evidenced when the boyfriend says, “Ill stay with you.” He also added, “I do not want anyone else, but you” (p.161).
Basing on this utterance, it is also clear that the American man is taking advantage of the love he has for his girlfriend to convince her to have the abortion. However, the girlfriend does not actually feel the same as she loves both of them. This is evident from the way she turned him down saying, “Would you please stop talking” (p. 298). Generally, this shows that her love is not selfish and that she is the man’s superior in sensitivity, imagination and above all, capacity for love.
As it has been established in the discussion, the theme of love is espoused in the three novels. In the “Hill Like White Elephants,” both the American man and his girlfriend show love to each other but the pregnancy is threatening their peaceful affection. Their love is therefore selfish or situational.
In the “Two Kinds,” parental love dominates. The mother feels that she has the responsibility to guide her daughter to success. Her dominance of over her daughter is also threatening their affection. The daughter feels that she is not being given space to enjoy life like other kids. However, in the end, the daughter realizes that her mother was somehow right.
In the “fall of the house of usher,” is a sad story of two twins who share brotherly love. Their situation has actually brought them together more than ever. Poe also has strong love for his beloved wife, Virginia. This is evidenced when she died as it was hard for Poe to forget her both in his personal and work life.
Benson, J. (1990). New critical approaches to the short stories of Ernest Hemingway. Durham: Duke University Press.
Poe, E. (2011). The fall of the House of Usher. New York: Books of Wonder.
Tan, A. (2006). The joy luck club. New York: Penguin Books.
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