Cultural Analysis Essay Definition Of Love

Analysis of Carver's "What We Talk about When We Talk about Love"

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Love cannot be defined in one sentence or even a paragraph. Every human has his or her own definition of love because people usually define love based on their cultures, backgrounds, social classes, educations, and their societies. In this essay, the main point will be the different kinds of love that Carver illustrates in his story “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love.” In Carver’s story, there are some points that I can relate to my personal experience. There are a few characteristics and symbols in the story that are really important to understand in order to define what a real love is and find the intention thrown out the story. These characteristics includes, Mel, Terri and Ed and Terri’s relationship. Furthermore, symbols…show more content…

I think “shut up” was a very strong words that shows he didn’t know what a true love is and made his audience think about him as someone who can not define love clearly.
When someone as a reader looks at Mel’s situation, it is a totally different kind of love. Education, background, social class comes together and describes Mel’s definition about love. To be specific, Mel is an educated person, and he is a cardiologist. However, Mel sees love as something that can be pass on to someone else, and he doesn’t really understand the concept of real love. There might be another reason for Mel definition’s of love, and the reason is Mel’s first love with his first wife (Marjorie). Mel was in love with Marjorie (Mel first wife), but suddenly everything just collapsed, and he didn’t know what cause the divorce, and what happened to his love. Mel sees love as a “memory not even a memory” (Carver 676), and that is when he started to talk about love at the beginning of the story. Mel thought about love in an educational way not in his own personal way. He defined love based on what he had learned in school and in his educational way not personal way. In my opinion, Mel wanted to do the same thing that Ed did to Terri but in his own way. Mel was more educated than Ed, so he wasn’t going to fight with his

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How can women respond to this predominantly male, objective culture? They can seek to adapt to it - in practical terms, for instance, by eliminating competition between men and women in the labor market and the production process. But Simmel points out that most often this demand is responded to by giving women differentiated tasks that are designated as ''their'' occupations. Simple adaptation to this objective culture would not, of course, change it. It will only change if women ''accomplish something that men cannot do. This is the core of the entire problem, the pivotal point of the relationship between the women's movement and objective culture.''

BUT when Simmel goes on to examine the potential contributions of women to this culture that would let them realize their own personalities within it and also provide it with a ''female nuance,'' his examples are unconvincing. Historically, one of women's crucial contributions has been to the home ''in its state of serene, self-contained completeness.'' The home is ''the supreme cultural achievement of women,'' and ''household management'' has been the location of ''secondary originality.'' In other articles on the women's movement, Simmel recognizes that this ''immense cultural achievement'' has also proved a prison house. But he is almost forced into seeing the home as a positive cultural achievement by the psychological and metaphysical dichotomies with which he seeks to deal with these issues: maleness is associated with significance, contradiction, restlessness, becoming, and femaleness with beauty, harmony, stability, being. Any critical semiologist would have a field day with Simmel's polarized images of men and women, which reveal that he was encapsulated within many of the norms of the very culture he tries to criticize. Nevertheless, Simmel does recognize the crucial problem of imposing on the female personality norms and standards derived from a male objective culture.

As the sociologist of fleeting interactions and ''fortuitous fragments of reality'' and as the first major sociologist of human emotions, Simmel is more convincing on flirtation and love, the latter being ''one of the great formative categories of existence.'' In his essay on love, Simmel starts out from the I-and-you relationship as a temporary and prior one, a starting point very different and possibly more productive than all those conceptions of society that have commenced with unregulated egos.

Most typical of Simmel's analysis of social interaction is the brief study of flirtation, which he views as an alternation between accommodation and denial, consent and refusal. The essay also illustrates his preoccupation with interaction as dynamic exchange. Flirtation is not merely evident in the coquette who ''neither resists, nor does she surrender,'' but also in intellectual life, in the sort of self-concealment in which a person stands behind what is expressed in a semiveiled fashion. Of course, flirtation is particularly significant in human relationships where rigid codes of conduct exist. It was a means by which the power of ''consent or refusal'' could be exercised by women: ''Flirtation is a means of enjoying this power in an enduring form.'' When men engage in flirtation, it becomes a game or a form of playing with reality. Like art, which places itself beyond reality, ''flirtation also does no more than play with reality, yet it is still reality with which it plays.'' Flirtation remains a perhaps that is ''crystallized into a thoroughly positive way of acting.''

Simmel's theoretical treatment of women, love and sexuality forms part of his wider examination of the crisis of modern culture and his desire for cultural renewal. To some readers, his discussion of women may come as something of a surprise. To others, it may come as a shock. All will be tempted to confront it critically. But all will realize that Simmel, practicing his own form of self-concealment, never intended providing the answers to the questions he posed.

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