Jan / Feb 2013
Please join me in wishing our current Femnista writers a
January Jan 14 – Caitlin Jan 26 – Carissa Jan 27 - Patti You can read interviews with our authors on our blog.
February Feb 13 – Ella Feb 14 – Rachel Mc. Feb 29 - Tryntsje
4 8 10 14 16 20 22 26 28 32 34 37 38 40 44 46
Jame & Landon / Livy & Ray Anna & Vronsky Lancelot & Guinevere Bathseba & Gabriel Nicholas Sparks Valancy & Barney Ethel & Millais Random Harvest Hans & Leia Tannha端ser Cyrano & Roxane Jose & Nina Amy & Rory Elinor & Edward An Affair to Remember Raphael & la Fornarina
This Issue: Romance Femnista fans got to pick our cover. Did you vote?
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Love is a big part of life. It tugs on our hearts, puts a smile on our faces, and gives us something to believe in. Some of your favorite couples may be included in this issue. Some of these characters you may never have even heard about. But each means something to the author of the article. Each touched lives enough to demand to be written about. Enjoy all the love!
By Hannah C. Price
There is something extraordinary about love stories, something that makes them stand out against all others. The simple scenario of two people falling in love is so endearing that no matter how many times the story is told it never seems to get old. With so much entertainment focusing on romance, one can become hard-pressed to find something truly exceptional. A Walk to Remember and The Magic of Ordinary Days are such stories, exceptional and full of heart. For those unfamiliar with their plots, they are simple and sweet. A Walk to Remember tells the story of Jamie and Landon. They fall for
one another during high school senior year. Jamie‟s good-girl behavior and personality win over Landon‟s bad-boy ways and their love helps him mature into an honorable man. The fact that she has terminal cancer brings them to a bittersweet conclusion, but this is also a key developmental element to their story. The Magic of Ordinary Days is about the educated, ambitious Olivia (Livy), who becomes pregnant out of wedlock and is coerced by her father into an arranged marriage. Her new husband, Ray, is a man she‟s never met before; his modest farmer‟s life is a far cry from Livy‟s previous existence. Though it takes the duration of Livy‟s pregnancy, they eventually fall in love, and
the film promises the beginning of a long and happy life for them.
should look for in a potential husband and virtues that every man should strive for.
These two films are very different. They take place in different time periods—modern times and WWII. The circumstances surrounding both couples, their manner of courtship, their personalities and ultimate endings are also very different. However, these movies are linked by several shared traits that unite them into a pair of romance films worthy of admiration and emulation.
The second common trait of these films is a relationship between the lead couple devoid of sexual immorality. Livy is pregnant outside wedlock but her previous actions are not condoned. Indeed, the story focuses on the consequences of her mistake and her remorse over “giving up her life just to be held by a stranger.” Livy‟s relationship with Ray is redeeming, giving her a new lease on life with a man who would never have seduced and abandoned her like the father of her baby did. For Landon and Jamie, their relationship is sexually pure. There are hints at past indiscretions in Landon‟s unruly days, but his love for Jamie is free of anything “indiscrete.” Jamie is committed to purity and her attitude eventually is shared by Landon. Their love is based on mutual trust and respect and as a result, the purity of their romance feels natural and never forced. The positive way the films treat sexual purity is a major advantage, especially considering the impact entertainment has on public opinion.
Their first common trait is a strong leading man. Landon doesn‟t start out as the dashing hero but rather as an irresponsible youth. Under Jamie‟s patient, Christ-like influence, he grows and changes, maturing into a man worthy of her love and the audience‟s respect. Ray is already mature and responsible when we are introduced to him. He‟s extremely reserved and quiet but given his circumstance of marrying a complete stranger this is completely understandable. The audience is at first unsure of him, as is Livy, but Ray‟s patience, kindness and devotion win us over and he is quickly recognized as a truly virtuous hero. Landon (after his transformation) and Ray are two special men for the audience to admire, men women should fall for. They exude patience, kindness, integrity, unwavering devotion, pure intentions and deference, virtues every woman
The third common trait is a romance in circumstances that are entirely plausible.
Female viewers can identify with Livy and Jamie, and even if cancer or out-ofwedlock pregnancies aren‟t issues in your life, you can easily put yourself in either of their shoes. Livy and Jamie‟s insecurities, fear, and broken pride are issues everyone can understand, adding authenticity to their stories. If Livy had instantly fallen for Ray and accepted her new life as a farmer‟s wife without hesitation, her story would have been unrealistic. The fact that she has a hard time giving up her ambition of becoming a archeologist, struggles with being married to a man she hardly knows, and worries that she will never become a good housewife for Ray make Livy human and authentic. Jamie‟s battle with cancer, fears that she‟ll never get married or fulfill her greatest dreams, and dealing with an overprotective father and relationship struggles with Landon lend her story credibility. Jamie‟s emotional strength never crumbles under physical weakness and her determination to bring out the best in Landon leads to the fulfilling of her most important dreams. Jamie never credits her accomplishments to herself but to God, pointing to the fact that God can work miracles and turn impossible dreams into reality. This leads to the fourth shared trait of these films: the romances of Landon and Jamie and Ray and Livy include recognition of divine love and grace. This is more explicitly evident in A Walk to Remember because Jamie is an outspoken Christian, something that impacts everything she does and is a major factor in Landon‟s transformation. Still, God‟s mercies work in subtle ways in The Magic of Ordinary Days too. Livy‟s father is a pastor, but his strict
treatment of her is a sad reminder of judgment not softened by mercy. The flip side is the treatment Livy receives from Ray and his family, a true picture of Christ-like love. This love shines bright in Livy‟s darkness and one of the most poignant moments of the film is where she thanks Ray and his family for the “love and forbearance” she‟s been given, having “learned more about love in six months” spent with their family “than in twenty-five years” at her father‟s house. So many stories focus on the age-old belief in “love at first sight.” A Walk to Remember and The Magic of Ordinary Days portray romance that comes into being over time and couples who grow to love one another. Their relationships are not based on physical attraction so much as a deep emotional connection, mutual respect and sincere desire to support one another. This kind of love is truly beautiful, turning these stories into films you don‟t have to be ashamed of sighing over; hoping for a similar experience in your own life. ■
Matthew & Mary, Downton Abbey
By Charity Bishop
Love can be complicated. And no story more fully explores the different kinds of love than Leo Tolstoy‟s tragedy, Anna Karenina. It covers maternal, unrequited, passionate, enduring, nurturing and dutiful love. Anna Karenina is a story about two “love” stories: the pure, innocent, forgiving love of Levin and Kitty, and the wild, forbidden, lustful love of Anna and Vronsky. In the course of repairing her brother‟s marriage (damaged through his adultery), Anna begins an affair that forces her to choose between her loyal love for her husband, her maternal love for her children, and her passionate love for a man she cannot have.
Their love is ultimately self-destructive. Since it isn‟t based on trust and is frowned on in society (where divorce and remarriage or even a “quieter” affair wouldn‟t be). Anna grows increasingly insecure in the fear that her lover will leave her to marry another. Their adulterous love can‟t prosper, as it is built on the unhappiness of others. This is contrasted in the relationship of Kitty and Levin. He sees her as pure and knows he is unworthy of her love, yet still she offers it to him. In Kitty‟s forgiveness of his past sins, and her willingness to choose compassion instead of condemnation when dealing with his brother‟s immoral lifestyle, Levin finds faith in God and happiness. Their union brings them not only closer
together but closer to God, while Anna and Vronksy‟s union alienates them from society and causes both shame and guilt. Finally, there is the love of Karenin, Anna‟s husband. It is not passionate, but it endures even when tested. It revives after a period of hatred. It seeks to protect her from abandonment and offers her redemption, but it is her choice not to accept it. This platonic love “bores” Anna, but it is through it that Karenin also finds peace in faith. When Anna is convinced she will die, she summons her husband to her bedside and asks him not only to forgive her, but to reconcile with his enemy, Vronsky. Out of love for her, Karenin does this and is freed from his torment. Yet, his enduring love seems an impenetrable, cruel barrier to Anna… he will not divorce her (thus leaving her destitute, for as she is in the wrong, she will not be able to remarry) and so continues to protect her with his good name, reminding her daily of her sin. Anna‟s abandonment by her friends reveals their own limited ability to love, as well as their double standard: many of them are not faithful in their marriages, but her public affair causes them to turn away from her… all except for her sister-in-law, Dolly, who treats her with the same open forgiveness that Anna convinced her at the start to offer her husband. Thus, despite all the scandal and passion and torment, it is Kitty and Dolly who show the purest and most godly form of love, in loving where others will not, in having compassion for lost and hurting souls, and in forgiving where forgiveness isn‟t deserved. Anna Karenina has a happy ending for Levin
“And though she felt sure that his love for her was waning, there was nothing she could do, she could not in any way alter her relations to him. Just as before, only by love and by charm could she keep him. And so, just as before, only by occupation in the day, by morphine at night, could she stifle the fearful thought of what would be if he ceased to love her.”
and Kitty, but not for its heroine and her lover. In the end, it asks us to ponder whether or not love can prosper, grow, and enrich others lives when it begins with unfaithfulness. ■
By Tasha Brandstatter
Nothing’s more tempting than what you can‟t have… just ask Lancelot and Guinevere, whose tale of forbidden love continues to inspire artists, writers, and filmmakers after nearly a millennium. But why does this tale of a married woman and a valiant (occasionally crazy) knight hold so much fascination for us? If you‟ve never picked up a book or seen a movie and have no idea who Lancelot and Guinevere are, she was Queen of Camelot, married to King Arthur. Her original Welsh name, Gwenhwyfar, roughly translates to
“White Enchantress,” which is certainly what Lancelot, Arthur‟s number one knight and unofficial BFF, thought she was. Lancelot was carried away by the Lady of the Lake when he was just a baby and raised by her in the land of water spirits, wherever that is. When he became an adult, the Lady sent Lancelot away to serve in King Arthur‟s court, where he immediately developed an attraction for Queen Guinevere. Their romance didn‟t officially start, however, until Guinevere was kidnapped and raped by one of Arthur‟s enemies, Meleagant. Lancelot rescued her, though she contrarily told him she never wished him to do so. Being a proper knight, he apologized and set out to win back the approval of his queen.
Although Arthur is an important figure in this love triangle, the heart of the story is really Guinevere. The way the tale is interpreted often depends on how one views Guinevere. Was she a bird in a cage, as the Pre-Raphaelites saw her, trapped in a loveless marriage and unable to deny herself a tiny bit of happiness? Was she a femme fatale who selfishly led both men to their destruction? Or was Arthur her true love, and Lancelot a foolish mistake? How people interpret Guinevere‟s actions usually ends up influencing how Lancelot and Arthur are viewed, too, although Arthur is overwhelmingly portrayed as an older man who trusts Lancelot‟s honor in regards to Guinevere unquestioningly—despite the fact that he‟s younger, handsomer, French, and, you know, AROUND. There‟s an element of quis custodiet ipsos custodes (it translates to “who watches the watchmen?”) to the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, especially seeing as how they fall in love after Lancelot rescues her from a kidnapping. Today the famous Latin phrase has political implications, but when originally written by the Roman poet, Juvenal, it referred to trusting one‟s wife to remain faithful: “I know the plan that my friends always advise me to adopt: „Bolt her in, constrain her!‟ But who can watch the watchmen?”
Not Arthur, apparently. There‟s an Oedipal component to the story, as well (as there is with so many Arthurian tales). If Arthur was a father figure to Lancelot, then what does it say that Lancelot lusts after the man‟s wife? Perhaps that‟s why Guinevere was sentenced to treason after Arthur found out about her affair with Lancelot… or maybe she was simply seen as another one of Arthur‟s kingly possessions. This doesn‟t explain the story‟s longevity, however. Everyone loves a forbidden romance, especially in the case of courtly love, but many other stories contain similar themes and aren‟t as wellknown or drawn upon as heavily. So, what makes the story of Guinevere and Lancelot so special? Personally, I think it‟s the ambiguous characters of the forbidden romance. We‟ve already discussed the ambiguous nature of Guinevere, but Lancelot is even more mysterious. He‟s a man without a country or the legacy of a family. He doesn‟t even know his name until he performs his first heroic deed and finds “Lancelot” inscribed on a metal slab in a cemetery. Is he a noble knight, a man who‟s mad, bad, and dangerous to know, or a knight in dented armor? The answer is all of the above according to the French poems that are the
source material for much of Thomas Malory‟s Le Morte d‟Arthur, known as the Vulgate Cycle. Lancelot represents pure possibility and that is the true appeal of his forbidden romance with Guinevere. All of us have questions from our past where we flirt with the idea of what might have happened if...? What if we‟d married our high school sweetheart, or gone to college out of state? What if we‟d accepted that job offer or taken that phone call? We‟re presented with choices all the time from which there is no going back. But we flirt with the possibility of going back in our minds, of living another life and being a different person, possibly a happier one. After rescuing Guinevere from being burned alive for treason and delivering her to a convent, Lancelot went mad for several years and wreaked destruction throughout the countryside. He only returned to sanity after Galahad, his son, showed him the Holy Grail through a veil. Unlike his son, Lancelot is not a pure soul worthy of seeing the Grail—he represents chaos, especially in the hierarchical world of Camelot. Chrétien de Troyes called him “The Knight of the Cart” because he agreed to ride in a pillory in order to rescue Guinevere, a mode of transport unworthy of the dignity of a Knight of the Round Table and that would reflect badly on Arthur. It‟s a fitting symbol of how Lancelot subverts the social order, especially in the pursuit of Guinevere. Most modern adaptations forgo the depth and morally ambiguous symbolism of Lancelot by producing rather uninteresting characters. Lancelot on Once Upon A Time, the TV series Merlin, and the musical Camelot spring immediately to mind. Richard Gere‟s portrayal in First Knight is probably the best in recent
memory, but Lancelot remains at his most complex in literature. Broken Sword by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy, for example, has an entire section devoted to Lancelot‟s “mad period” and his affair with Elaine. Meanwhile, Queen Guinevere has become the focus of a love triangle that unfairly excludes the appeal of Lancelot and thus presents little justification for her actions. Alfred Lord Tennyson‟s portrayal of Queen Guinevere in Idylls of the King, for example, moralizes her relationship with Lancelot and Arthur while providing few details of the affair itself, implying at the end that the fall of Camelot is the result of her indiscretions. One of the most iconic love stories ever told, whatever your interpretation of Guinevere and Lancelot, you can‟t help but be intrigued by the romance of their courtly love story. With two such rich characters and a depth of interpretation and mythology surrounding them, it‟s likely the story of Lancelot and Guinevere will continue to inspire artists and writers for a long time to come. ■
Rhett & Scarlett, Gone With the Wind
By Tryntsje Cuperus
You can’t trust Victorian author Thomas Hardy with a happy couple. Though many of the love stories from his novels are grand and memorable, they often end in a tragedy. So much so that tragic romances have become one of the best-known hallmarks of Hardy‟s work. One exception is Gabriel Oak and Bathseba Everdene from the 1874 novel, Far from the Madding Crowd. When they first meet, Gabriel has just leased and stocked a sheepfarm with the savings from his hard work as a shepherd. Bathseba has come to the neighbourhood to work on the farm of her aunt. Gabriel is intrigued by the pretty and forward Bathseba, who does things not thought proper for a young women, such as riding a horse astride and wearing her hair loose. When Bathseba saves Gabriel from an accident in his shepherd-hut, his intrigue turns to admiration and he decides to ask her to marry him. Against his expectations, she turns Gabriel‟s offer down, saying she does not love him with a little bit of disdain for his position. After all, she plans to do much better than marry just a beginning farmer! It is a few months before Gabriel and Bathseba cross paths again, and this time, their fates are reversed. Gabriel has lost his sheep and all his money due to an accident. Bathseba has inherited a large farm from an uncle. She has decided to run it herself rather than hiring an overseer. Though Gabriel still loves Bathseba, he knows better than to repeat his offer, especially now her position is so far above his.
He helps her whenever he can, his knowledge of farming being more than hers. Bathseba starts respecting and trusting him. Her life is complicated when the rich and respectable Farmer Boldwood asks to marry her and she meets the flirtatious Sergeant Troy. When Gabriel warns her that Sergeant Troy might not be trustworthy, love-struck Bathseba lashes out at him. The next morning she is gone and when she returns to the farm after more than a week, it becomes clear she has secretly married Sergeant Troy in Bath. Now
Gabriel has to endure Sergeant Troy around the farm, making fun of everyone and spending too much money. Still he doesn‟t leave, but is more determined than ever to help be there for the woman he loves: “I will help to my last breath the woman I have loved so dearly.” And strangely, as a married woman Bathseba dares to be more open and warm towards him than ever before: “Gabriel, you are kinder than I deserve.‟” Tragedy strikes when Bathseba discovers some unpleasant truths about her husband. I won‟t tell you what happens, except that eventually Gabriel and Bathseba are drawn together again. What transpires is one of the most simple yet touching marriage proposals in literature, I can really only describe by quoting: “They spoke very little of their mutual feelings, pretty phrases and warm attentions being probably unnecessary between such tried friends.”And after that, I choose to believe Bathseba and Gabriel lived happily ever after. In the relationship of Bathseba Everdene and Gabriel Oak, the author explores the basis for a strong relationship and marriage. Bathseba is in many ways a typical Hardy-heroine: independent, passionate, slightly fickle, but also strong and intelligent. These character traits allow her to become a successful farmer, which was set aside for only very few women in the 19th century. But it also leads her to form an attachment with the untrustworthy Sergeant Troy, which turns out to be a great mistake. Gabriel is a thoroughly honourable man. His
name, derived from one of the angels in the Bible and his last name, standing for one of the strongest of trees, point to his kindness and firmness of character. The same also applies to his position as a shepherd, a task associated with wisdom and tenderness and one of the images Jesus used to describe Himself. What grows between Bathseba and Gabriel after their first awkward interaction is a genuine friendship, in which they labour together and see each other‟s rougher sides. Bathseba sees again and again what a good man Gabriel is, and this leads to her finally admit she does not want to live without him by her side. Many memorable love stories start with love at first sight between the hero and heroine. We all love to swoon over these kind of tales and secretly hope the same will one day happen to us. But Far from the Madding Crowd points us at another type of love, just as memorable and maybe more realistic. Really, there‟s a lot to say for love at last sight! ■
By Rissi C.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that great love stories are a motif the 21st century has failed to produce. When you think back on the last decade, it‟s hard to come up with something that fits the parameters of what makes a lasting love story. Even the greatest cultural love stories usually don‟t define love in its truest form. In modern culture romantic sagas are breath-catching yet rarely is there a love story that convinces us of its realism, nor has there been any “great” romances in many years. Modern authors like Nora Roberts and Nicholas Sparks satisfy the “surface” of love but completely miss the point —or that‟s how I‟ve always felt.
When you think of memorable love stories, where does your mind wander? Does it drift to the Margaret Mitchell epic Gone with the Wind, or the doomed tale of teen lovers in West Side Story or perhaps conjure images of Lizzie and Darcy? Fans of contemporary works will, in all likelihood, think of a name akin to Mr. Sparks; here is an author who cranks out more fictional romance novels than nearly any other author I read (seriously, does he ever not have a new book out!?). I saw an interview in which he stated his novels only ever have three possible endings: happy, sad or bittersweet. I read that and thought, “is there any other kind?”
Love can sometimes achieve the impossible is a tagline of sorts for one of Sparks novels. As a thought in a romance, it‟s pretty… yet in his books, it becomes an ongoing theme that can often be dishonest. Everyone wants to be loved and experience it in its truest, most purest form. Today‟s society twists the notion of romance and love (and even friendships) into something ugly. Unless it serves a purpose that is greater than the romance, I‟m a happy endings sort of girl. And if that‟s not possible, there had better be a darn good reason to part the lovers. Nicholas Sparks isn‟t an author who always wants to give his protagonists the kind of ending that leaves the reader in a blissful state of happiness. Sometimes he crushes our dreams along with those of the leading couple. Early on, as I read his books and saw his films, I scoffed at his repetitive ideals and mediocre plots. I have now had to revise some of those thoughts because he does have a way of telling a story that usually pulls me in, and as an avid reader that is something I appreciate. His characters are easy to like, leaving the reader desiring to help characters who seem more real than even the people we may meet in life. Since Sparks has so many novels, I‟d like to talk about just two of them. The Lucky One has a trademark sense of loss but not in the way we initially believe. It follows a just-discharged marine, Logan who finds a photograph of a blonde woman after a raid. Following his discovery, Logan‟s life is tested more than once in situations that his comrades didn‟t share the same fate—it makes him wonder, could this woman whose name is ascribed on the photo back only as “E” be his lucky charm? Searching
for her seems the natural course of events, leading him to a place where “risk” takes on an entirely different meaning. Then in what is dubbed a “departure from normal” for the novelist (and it is!) in Safe Haven we follow a frightened young lady who appears in a small coastal town. Katie has a past that has hardened her and made her cautious, which is why she keeps the kind-hearted, widowed store owner Alex at arm‟s length. Eventually her guard drops and she begins to feel again—but the cost may be something she is never able to forgive herself for. The circumstances are different for both protagonists yet at the crux of the respective narratives, both Logan and Katie are running… one towards something (or someone) and another from something. Logan‟s life is changed by a twist of fate and Katie‟s from the result of a
habitual pattern of bad choices—both people found that to fully live life, you must come to terms with the past before embracing the future. He didn‟t know it but in taking a first step away from his family and running from a guilt that threatened to rule his life, Logan found precious things at the end of his rainbow trail. Katie‟s past shapes up to be a similar scenario; she runs to protect herself, willing to risk never being able to live fully in order to remove herself from an unhealthy situation. One thing Nicholas Sparks does well in the majority of his novels is buck the dishonest hypothesis that feeling love isn‟t socially acceptable. That it displays weakness. Finding the person who makes life look safer isn‟t weakness. Love isn‟t weakness. Everyone desires that. Is it a false sense of security to want that? I don‟t think so. Safety, like love, isn‟t something anyone wants to free-fall from. It‟s ingrained in us, from the time we‟re a child to earning our longed for independence. We
need a haven where we feel most true to ourselves. It doesn‟t always have to be a romantic connotation; for some, it may be an environment, a place we work. For others, it may be a task, a passion. Logan and Katie find life and safety in the people who stepped up to be the “havens” they needed. Logan realizes he was meant to find Beth if only to thank her for what he feels is the reason he is still alive. Katie is trapped before she meets Alex, an honorable man whose first priority is to keep those he loves safe. Their respective stories may be meant for entertainment but the way that they come alive is more honest than readers give them credit for. And when the last word is spoken and the book closed, it‟s not merely an ending, but the promise of much more. Happily ever after may be where the story ends but really, that is only the beginning… ■
Edward & Jane, Jane Eyre
By Rachel McMillan
The first time I read The Blue Castle I was in high school. I finished it late one night having stayed up to read it in one sitting and immediately flipped to the beginning and read it again. For the next several weeks I didn‟t have a taste for any other book. I wanted to keep slipping into Barney and Valancy‟s bright Muskoka world, to experience the many seasons that permeate their love story, to seep in the woods and lake country so aptly executed in L.M. Montgomery‟s poetic purple prose. From that moment on, my conceptualization of romance was fully realized. I was on the precipice of university, of adulthood, and so many of my ideas and ideals were changing. At this prominent crossroads, came a book that completely set my world a-kilter. To many who read this book in our present day, it seems like a Harlequin Romance: all wrapped up in a pretty bow, full of flounce and flowery dialogue, and too good to be true. In Montgomery‟s time, it was shocking, different, and wholly real, arguably one of the first female emancipation novels in Canada. The stifled Valancy throws off convention to leave her home and kin to become a companion to Cissy, a young unwed mother at the precipice of death. For Montgomery readers, it‟s far more physical in nature than her other books. There is a bawdy dance at Chidley Corners where loose women and drunken men are described in detail. Valancy speaks to Barney‟s caresses, Barney, in turn, describes Valancy‟s “kissable” collarbone and how she has “such a nice voice for love-making.” Though their marriage is unconventional and borne almost of convenience, you realize soon in that it is
consummated, providing the sheltered heroine another life experience that she, as a poor “old maid” scorned by society, never felt would pass her way. The Blue Castle is a Romantic‟s romance. It‟s as if its author steals inside the consciousness of bookish, daydreamer girls like myself who feel they are not pretty or confident enough, too intelligent, and too out-of-place, and paints, for them, her ideal. It‟s also the only novel Montgomery set outside her beloved Prince Edward Island. After a family vacation in Ontario, Maud is smitten by a Canadian landscape that starkly contrasts that of her youth. Muskoka is a wilderness paradise, complete with great Lakes dotted with canoes, ridged by towering pines and haunted with the song of the forest
creatures which steal far, far into the “upback” region where hero Barney feels most at home. It‟s also replete of society, popular culture and convention as Valancy realizes when she moves to Barney‟s tucked-away island. If romance is in need of anything, Valancy is certain, freedom must be part of it. Reading Montgomery‟s journals, you‟re given an insight into her imaginative conjecture of Valancy and Barney‟s world. During a dream one night, she describes a perfect island in Muskoka, far from the stress of home, peppered with her favorite friends and family, full of hope and the lore of the woodfolk and mystery she loved to daydream and write about. Into this canvas, she places Barney Snaith, arguably one of the most dimensional of her heroes, and a woman who suffered from the clutches of society very much in the way that Montgomery did. She provides them with a marriage based largely on friendship. They are, to shamelessly instill her oft-used phrase, “kindred spirits.” Their attachment is almost preternatural. By the end, they can read each other‟s thoughts and dream each other‟s dreams. They sit in the company of one another in silence without awkwardness. Romance, borne of friendship and backed by an exotically normal and realistic locale, it would seem, is pure fantasy indeed. I grew up in Muskoka and spent my summers in a cottage near Barney and Valancy‟s fictional world. A young dreamer obsessed with stealing into the romances of Victorian authors, I was
faced in later years with a romance that seemed remarkably modern. Maud, at this point, cast off the Victorian conceptions and rules she so long held fast to and Valancy, in her mental stead, arrives in the roaring 1920s. With Barney at her side, she speeds through the back roads in an automobile, bobs her hair and begins wearing dresses to elongate the nice lines of her thinly underdeveloped figure. Her family and society are scandalized but it is only when Valancy can shrug off the boundaries and shackles of the society that she is able to find love beyond her wildest dreams. If Valancy is the champion of the modern woman, the sarcastic and reclusive Barney, a great traveler and talker, is the perfect man. Not unlike the brooding Dean Priest (Emily of New Moon) or learned and passionate Andrew Stuart (Jane of Lantern Hill), Barney is a thinking girl‟s dream man. Be-dimpled and rustyhaired, with a nice, trim figure and a yearning for adventure, Barney has everything the Montgomery reader could ever want in a partner and spouse. For those who love Maud‟s work as much as I, you realize the reason she has such power is the interception of her work at a young age when your imaginative realm is just coloring. She champions and reassures girls with broad imaginative strokes, who are wont to go on many dream sprees, that they are not alone. They are claimed. They are legitimate. They are worthy of their perfect mate: one who, if Maud had taken over all of the world and its decisions, would have a mysterious past, a lively disposition, a way with a pen and a few aliases to boot. ■
By Lianne M. Bernardo
The London Hospital at the turn of the 20th Century was at the frontline of cutting-edge medical equipment and practices, facing the major illnesses of the day and the poverty of the East End. This is the setting where the television show Casualty 1900s (or London Hospital) takes place, drawing material from hospital files and personal diaries. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x;s also in this setting that Doctor Millais Culpin and Nurse Ethel Bennett meet, work together and fall in love, all while striving to save the lives of their patients. Ethel Bennett is introduced on her first day as a probationer nurse. She is bright, cheerful
with a knack for impersonations, and eager to learn. She is assigned to the receiving room to work alongside Millais Culpin, an experienced doctor who grew up in Australia. Millais is grave, thoughtful and intense but shows his care and compassion through his actions. Professionally Millais and Ethel work well as team in the receiving room. Millais develops an interest in Ethelâ&#x20AC;&#x;s aspirations after she confides in him that she wants to be a doctor, something unheard of at the time. She shows promise when they first meet in her ability to learn quickly and handle patients. Millais is more open-minded than his colleagues, believing that treating patients of psychological illnesses is just as important as treating any physical illnesses. He believes Ethel can achieve her dreams. He
helps her along the way, teaching her during their shifts in the receiving room. Despite their different personalities and roles in the hospital, Ethel and Millais share a common trait of wanting to do the right thing for the patients under their care. Millais is not fond of office politics or bureaucracy, which he feels only gets in the way of getting the job done and saving lives. In the first episode, he takes Ethel with him to the site of an accident even though as a probationer she‟s supposed to stay on hospital grounds at all times. Later, he tells Ethel that she shouldn‟t have to stay for the rest of her shift after being exposed to a patient with a very grave illness. While it may seem that Millais gives special preference to Ethel, this attitude is also evident in the way he socialises with other colleagues: he‟s uncomfortable having dinner with the house surgeon, thinking instead about the people standing outside the hospital in need of medical aid. Ethel also goes to great extents to fulfill the needs of her patients. She stays with Lucy Strong both in the receiving and examination room until Millais comes to examine her. She administers alcohol to a patient despite nurses not being allowed to prescribe treatment, even if it‟s only to ease a patient‟s discomfort. Her initiative gets her into trouble with Sister Ada, her superior, and Miss Luckes, the matron of
the hospital. Ethel‟s desire to become a doctor despite the trends of the time shows that she too doesn‟t completely conform with what society expects of her at the time, something perhaps Millais identifies with. Over time their relationship evolves into something more than just work. There are many small exchanges between them, such as Ethel providing Millais a drink to help with his hangover, a smile and a meaningful glance here and there. Then comes the turning point in their relationship when Ethel contracts scarlet fever from a patient. Millais is visually distraught, taking Ethel to the isolation ward and later visiting her. He suggests the last resort treatment when her health takes a turn for the worse. For a man who always seems to know what to do in a tricky situation, it‟s clear that Ethel had become important to him. Their relationship continues to progress despite that relationships between doctors and nurses were strictly forbidden at the time. They find moments of time together amidst busy work schedules, reassignments and Ethel‟s extracurricular studies. Like any other couple, Ethel and Millais‟ relationship encounters moments of miscommunication, like when Millais fails to see Ethel and comfort her as soon as he hears dire
news about her brother. The real-life story of Ethel Bennett and Millais Culpin differs considerably from what is conveyed in the show. It is unclear whether they met at any point during Millais‟ time in London, but when Millais was assigned to the British hospital in Shanghai shortly after 1907 he made a request to the London Hospital for the best nurse to travel to Shanghai and work there. Miss Luckes sent Ethel and in 1913 they married. Ethel and Millais initially settled in Australia where they had one daughter, Frances, but after WWI the family returned to England where they lived and worked.
Ethel and Millais‟ story in the series is quiet but poignant, brought together by their desire to help others and built on respect, trust and friendship. Their personalities may differ but they also complement and bring out the best in each other: Millais in encouraging Ethel‟s ambitions and talents and Ethel in prompting Millais to be communicative about his feelings. Their work in the hospital is obviously an important aspect of who they are but at the end of the day, as Millais said, “My work is important to me. But it‟s not as important as you are to me.” ■
Lizzie & Darcy, Pride & Prejudice
By Patti Gardner
Just in time for Valentine’s Day is a romance surpassing all others…a love so deep and strong that its mere subconscious memory finds all future loves inadequate. Playing out in 1942‟s Random Harvest is that kind of love. Based on the James Hilton novel, Random Harvest is a sweet, sentimental, heart-tugger starring Greer Garson and Ronald Colman, with Philip Dorn, Susan Peters, and Henry Travers in supporting roles. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, this lovely film received seven Academy Award nominations. In November, 1918, in the military wing of an English psychiatric hospital, elderly Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd hope to be reunited with their soldier son. Although warned by the doctor that the amnesiac patient may, in fact, be a total stranger, the Lloyds eagerly anticipate their appointment with him. Alas, all it takes is one look for their hopes to be dashed… though the man has no idea of his identity and, in fact, struggles to even speak, with one glance the elderly couple knows he is not who they hoped he would be; brokenhearted, they exit the meeting room. Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd are not the only sorrowful ones; the patient—who has no memory of events prior to the 1917 battle in which he was injured—had been hoping he belonged to them. At least then he would know his name… and he would have a home to go to. Now, with his hopes crushed, Smith (as the doctor has dubbed him) has no idea
when he will be able to leave the hospital. In normal surroundings, he could probably get well; however, without a family or a place to go, Smith knows there‟s not a chance in the world he‟ll be discharged. Disappointed, Smith takes a stroll on the hospital grounds; while he is outside, pandemonium erupts… shouts ring out from every street corner in the nearby
town… the war has just ended! In the jubilation which follows, the hospital‟s entrance gates are left unmanned, leaving Smith the opportunity to simply wander away. While out and about, he meets lovely Paula Ridgeway (Greer Garson), who sings and dances at a little pub nearby, and the two bond instantly. When Paula discovers that her new friend can't remember his name and that he‟s been called "Smith," she nicknames him "Smithy” and promptly takes him under her wing. Though he still has no recollection of the past or his identity, Smithy‟s health begins to blossom as he and Paula spend time together. They fall deeply in love and after marrying, settle into life in a quaint little country cottage. In due time, a baby boy joins their family, making their happiness even more complete. Two years later, in November, 1920, Smithy sets out for Liverpool on a business venture. While in the city, he is involved in an accident…and the resulting trauma triggers his memory. Now, he knows his identity—he is Charles Ranier of Random Hall; however, he now has no recollection of the years since his war injury … in fact, to Charles‟ way of thinking, it is 1917 and he is on active duty. Astounded to learn it is, in fact, 1920, Charles/Smithy has no remembrance of where he has been for the past three years, no idea what he has been doing… and no memory of Smithy, or Paula, or the son she bore… no memory of what door the key in his pocket unlocks. Years go by, and Charles tries to carry on his privileged life. But deep within him is the
memory of a love he doesn't really remember, but which he can't get out of his mind. Try as he might, he cannot find happiness… he can't find love. The memory of a real and true love prevents him from finding love with another. Will Charles/Smithy ever remember Paula? Will they ever get back together? And what about the key Charles has found in his pocket? Will he ever discover what door it unlocks? To find out the answer to those questions, you simply must watch this lovely film. There are no big huge sobs, but do expect some misty-eyed moments as this heart-tugging drama plays out. ■
By Rachel Sexton
In the late 1970’s, moviegoers experienced the first example of the Hollywood film now popularly known as the “event” film.
this is found in the Star Wars series. The romance between Princess Leia and Han Solo features the classic romantic scenario of the bickering couple in a fresh and integral way.
A big budget, big scale film is often released in the summer, makes a lot of money, and inevitably spawns a sequel or two. These films have slowly come to conform to a set of conventions all their own, like every other genre. They are mostly action-oriented but have comedy and drama woven into their plotting. In an attempt to appeal to all audiences, including women, the major subplot of nearly all these types of films is the romance between a male and female lead. One of the earliest and most potent examples of
Star Wars has had a tremendous impact on the public consciousness. Released in May 1977, the original film, subtitled Episode IV: An New Hope, was one of the most successful films of all time and was followed by The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi as Episodes V and VI in 1980 and 1983. Intense fan devotion accompanied the films and the three prequel Episodes were produced and released in 1999, 2002, and 2005. The story charts the fall of Anakin Skywalker from Jedi Knight (keepers of the
peace attuned to extrasensory abilities through the Force) to Darth Vadar, top henchman for the evil Galactic Emperor, and his redemption through the rebel activities of his children, twins Luke and Leia. The second half of the story (which, unusually, was released first) is when the focus shifts toward the second Skywalker generation. Leia and Luke were separated at birth to protect them from their father; now a young adult, she secretly works for the rebellion against the tyrannical Empire. Han Solo is a scoundrel smuggler who works for horrible gangster slug Jabba the Hut. They meet when he transports Luke and their father‟s old mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi as they deliver her escaped droids, which are carrying important information, to the rebels. They end up rescuing her from captivity on the Empire‟s Death Star battle space station. From the beginning, the classic “fighting to cover up their attraction” dynamic effortlessly plays out between Han and Leia. They first set eyes on each other in the corridor outside her cell and are trapped by blaster fire from their only exit. She is dismayed by the seeming haphazardness of their rescue (“You got in here, you didn‟t have a plan for getting out?”). When Han asks if she‟d like to get back in her cell, she takes charge by blasting a hole in a nearby vent for them to escape through. “Into the garbage chute, Flyboy!” she commands him. Before doing so, he comments to Luke, “Wonderful girl! Either I‟m going to kill her or I‟m beginning to like her!” The verbal sparring continues as they fight their way back to Han‟s ship and blast away from the Death Star to escape to the rebel camp. Han owes money to Jabba for a botched smuggling trip and his preoccupation with the reward for Leia‟s return
doesn‟t endear him to her. When Han returns at the most opportune moment to assist the Rebels in winning the space battle and destroying the battle station, Leia is ecstatic, saying “I knew there was more to you than money!” Han clandestinely flirts with Leia as the Rebels confer medals on the heroes, winking at her after she slips his arm around her neck. The Empire Strikes Back picks up their interaction in the same tone. Han is finally leaving the Rebel camp on the ice planet of Hoth to pay off Jabba, and Leia is angry with this. She claims it‟s because the Rebels need him but Han calls her on the feelings she is unwilling to admit. Han‟s departure is stalled by Luke‟s need for a rescue and a skirmish with the Empire. As the Rebels retreat from Hoth, circumstances put Leia onto Han‟s ship, the Millenium Falcon, to
carbon freeze and just before he goes in, Leia bursts out that she loves him. “I know,” he responds.
escape. After the bickering on Hoth, the attraction between them finally comes to a head when Han finds a place to hide out with the ship. First, romantic tension builds when the ship jerks and she lands in his arms. Then, they are doing small repairs and Han approaches Leia, getting her to admit she thinks he‟s an okay guy and then telling her she needs more scoundrels in her life. They kiss, and though they are interrupted by droid C3PO, it marks a turning point in their storyline. The banter doesn‟t disappear completely but small moments of it still surface throughout the remainder of the series. From this point on, outside drama will provide enough to deal with. They must leave their hiding place after discovering they‟re inside a space slug, and they evade the Empire by making it to Bespin, a city in the clouds around a gas planet. They are betrayed there, and Han is given into the clutches of Boba Fett, a bounty hunter working for Jabba. Han is put into
This puts the couple in the position of having much more to worry about than cover up their attraction. There is also tension between Han and Leia about Luke before Han is told they‟re siblings, as they just found out themselves. Leia gets slightly injured and they do a nice reversal of the “I know” moment from the previous film. Mostly, though, the final film simply shows them fighting side by side as a very effective team. Then they celebrate the fall of the Empire together. A classic romantic device in fiction is the couple who fight to conceal their feelings for each other. The Star Wars saga makes this fresh by putting it in the middle of an event film in the pairing of Han Solo and Princess Leia. This love story gains immense significance as an example of the good the Rebels are fighting for. For me, seeing a short brunette with brown eyes on screen in a character like Leia makes the romance all the more entertaining because I relate to that. And who doesn‟t love the bickering couple? From Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing to Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice to Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter and even Kate and Doug in The Cutting Edge, this type of couple is sexy and fun to watch. Star Wars just put it in a galaxy far, far away. ■
Queen Victoria & Prince Albert
By Shannon H.
Opera often deals with the issue of love vs. lust and Wagner‟s Tannhaüser, based on Medieval history and folklore, is no exception. The world of a troubadour is interesting: they acted in plays, played music for royal courts, and preached courtly love. Their exploits are found in Medieval manuscripts and tapestries. Some were fictional, famous, and infamous. In Tannhaüser, they‟re minnesingers (or a singing knight). The titular character hangs out with his fellow musicians and sings songs about love and chastity, capturing the hearts of young, chaste Christian women. Unfortunately, he also sings songs about carnal lust unlike his more godly counterparts, unbeknownst to everyone else. Tannhaüser is first seen in the grotto of the goddess of love, Venus, cavorting with her, which he‟s done for a year, until he has had enough and pleads with her to let him go. Even Venus‟ charms are no match for Tannhaüser invoking the Virgin Mary; he‟s freed of her lustful spell in time to join his friends for a singing contest—and to meet Elisabeth, the Landgrave‟s daughter whose heart is captured by him. Tannhaüser lost a singing contest years earlier but Elisabeth was attracted to him because of the song he sang. While desperately trying to stay on the straight and narrow path, Tannhaüser longs to go back to Venus‟ grotto to allow himself to be captive to her, something he can‟t tell his friends or Elisabeth. The singing contest is hosted in Wartburg Castle, in the German state of Thuringia, in the town of Eisenach. Tannhaüser and his
friends hope to win and hopefully secure the beautiful and chaste Elisabeth as a bride. Everyone gathers together in a huge hall and sing about being in it. Tannhaüser‟s friend Wolfram, who is in love with Elisabeth, starts out singing about love and purity. Wolfram‟s song proves too much for Tannhaüser, who is struggling with his sinful desires, and he breaks in with his own “love” song about the carnal desires of lust which offends all in attendance. Knights draw their swords to kill him (folks were a lot less forgiving about one‟s personal demons in that day and age) but he is saved when Elisabeth comes to his aid. Tannhaüser is given a chance for redemption by traveling with a group of pilgrims to Rome to rid himself of his desires and sins (and hopefully reunite with Elisabeth). The journey he embarks on
proves to be powerful in itself as he discovers the cost of his sins and the power of love and forgiveness. Tannhaüser deals with love, lust, and how it consumes those affected by it. The titular character really loves Elisabeth but is consumed by his desires of the flesh and for the goddess Venus. Out of fear of punishment, Tannhaüser hides his sin from others only for it to eventually be exposed. The opera plays out as a morality tale (and that‟s something to take note of, considering Richard Wagner, the opera‟s composer, was a known adulterer); one‟s secrets will eventually be made public sooner or later. It also touches on the issue of lust vs. love, in a sense, the goddess Venus vs. Elisabeth. Tannhaüser is torn between both worlds; he desires the carnality of flesh and real love from a young Christian woman. In a way, it‟s a strange love triangle. Richard Wagner plays Tannhaüser‟s struggle out well, especially when he tries to break away from Venus and her minions of pleasure by pleading with her to release him from his spell. When she refuses, the duet continues with Tannhaüser singing higher each time, emphasizing his desperate attempt to get back to reality (a difficult task for this particular role, even with seasoned opera singers) and Venus‟ singing is mesmerizing and hypnotic. And while Venus could care less about Tannhaüser since she‟s simply using him and his weak state of mind, Elisabeth truly loves
him to the point where she makes sacrifices for him and his spiritual standing with God, and in doing so becomes a Christ figure. After a previous singing contest where Tannhaüser lost soundly, Elisabeth waited for him to return, illustrating faithfulness in love. (This reminds me of scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.) She plays a significant role in Tannhaüser‟s redemption, but with a huge cost on her part as well as his. Wagner makes it clear that Tannhaüser desperately yearns for the love of the virginal Elisabeth and more importantly, salvation in God but is held back by his desires of the flesh. Tannhaüser has many different facets and themes; friendship, love, and the cost of sin. One of them is the power of love and lust and how both can make or break an individual‟s will. When faced with his sins, the titular character tries to mentally shove them out of his mind and embark on a pilgrimage to Rome in the hopes that his transgressions will be absolved so he can enjoy a normal life like everyone else and, if possible, marry his true love. The opera itself is musically powerful, from the overture to the aria, “O du mein holder abenstern” (“O thou, my gracious evening star,” sung as a prayer to God by Wolfram to keep Elisabeth safe). It‟s filled with folklore and history that predates Shakespeare. The story teaches that love and lust are two different things, for lust lacks patience, kindness, and forgiveness and love has no place for instant, selfish gratification. ■
By Gina Delfonzo
Of all the great literary romances, the one between Cyrano and Roxane, in Edmond Rostand‟s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, may be the most frustrating. The hero, though he pours out his feelings to his beloved, is afraid to tell her who he really is. The heroine doesn‟t know that he loves her until the end… and by then it‟s too late. So why is this tragic romance so perennially popular? It‟s been filmed numerous times and still plays on stages all over the world. (In the last five years, it‟s been revived on Broadway twice.) The story has been updated for modern audiences, most notably in the Steve Martin film Roxanne. And many people who‟ve never
seen or read any version still have some idea of who Cyrano was and what he did. There‟s something about Cyrano de Bergerac, dashing poet and soldier, that seizes the imagination. Witty, gallant, loyal, and generous, Cyrano has everything to make him the perfect romantic hero—except good looks. His nose, to put it bluntly, is quite simply enormous. The character Ragueneau sums it up thus: “My lords, there is no such nose as that nose.” Cyrano handles his deformity with a curious mixture of bravado and vulnerability. In one scene he delivers a hilarious monologue about his nose; in the next, he quietly tells his best friend, Le Bret, “My friend, I have my
bitter days, knowing myself so ugly, so alone.” There‟s no middle ground with Cyrano. At any given moment, he‟s either making you laugh or wringing your heart. The woman Cyrano loves, Roxane, is beautiful and intelligent, and a lover of brilliant conversation. Her fatal flaw is her assumption that a handsome man must necessarily also be a smart one. When she falls for the good-natured but empty-headed Christian de Neuvillette, Roxane insists to Cyrano that she can read the man‟s soul in his eyes, even though she‟s never yet spoken to him. Cyrano, who had just begun to hope that Roxane might love him despite his appearance, is heartbroken by this development. It brings out his own fatal flaw: he can‟t bear to let her be disillusioned. And so he makes an arrangement with Christian. He writes letters to Roxane on Christian‟s behalf—beautiful, poetic letters that secure her affection for the young man and finally lead her to marry him. It may seem that Cyrano takes his subterfuge a little too far. His deception hurts not only himself but also Roxane. If Christian hadn‟t been killed in battle soon after the wedding, she soon would have discovered that she‟d married the wrong man. And yet, after Christian‟s death, Cyrano still hides the truth for 14 years, not wanting to ruin Roxane‟s memory of her husband. Like a very different character, Shakespeare‟s Othello, Cyrano loves “not wisely, but too well.” And yet, his love is so pure and selfless that it redeems him. Convinced that Roxane couldn‟t love him, Cyrano nevertheless wants her to have a chance for happiness. So he throws everything he has into providing that chance for her. When Christian kisses Roxane for the first
time, it is after Cyrano, under cover of darkness, has wooed her for him with a passionate speech. As they kiss on her balcony, Cyrano, hiding in the shadows below, consoles himself, “I have something here that is mine now and was not mine before I spoke the words that won her—not for me! … Kissing my words, my words, upon your lips!” Knowing that Roxane hears and responds to his deepest emotions brings him joy; he asks nothing more. The sad irony of the tale is Cyrano becomes more focused on looks than Roxane ever was. The letters supposedly written by Christian teach her so much about love that she comes to realize she has been shallow, and that she could love the writer of those words even if he were ugly. But when she finally discovers that Cyrano wrote them, he can‟t believe her declaration: ROXANE: You shall not die! I love you!—
CYRANO: No—that is not in the story! You remember when Beauty said “I love you” to the Beast that was a fairy prince, his ugliness changed and dissolved like magic… But you see I am still the same. If one was frustrated with Cyrano before, now one almost wants to shake him, and to weep for him at the same time. After all, Cyrano has spent a lifetime hiding his pain and loneliness behind a merry façade. When he dared to hope for love, his hope was snatched away. Yet he‟s lived a noble and courageous life, refusing to wallow in bitterness, and loving wholeheartedly. He has given Roxane everything he could, without counting the cost. No woman wants to be deceived by a man. There is genuine poignancy in Roxane‟s lament
as Cyrano is dying: “I never loved but one man in my life, and I have lost him— twice...” And yet there‟s hardly a woman alive who wouldn‟t want a man so dedicated to putting her happiness first. That, I believe, is why audiences will always forgive and love Cyrano de Bergerac, and why his romance that wasn‟t will be remembered as one of the greatest love stories of all time. ■
All quotations taken from the Brian Hooker translation of Rostand‟s play.
By Veronica Leigh
“My grandmother used to say, „If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans,‟ ‟” says Jose, in the opening scene of the movie Bella. What is love? For some it is romance and finding the one person you are meant to be with for the rest of your life. For others it is unconditional love, a love that transcends romance. This is what the Bible calls agape love. This is the case in the book and movie, Bella, where true love goes beyond romance. Nina is late for work, which makes this her third strike against her. Her boss is unsympathetic to her pleas for another chance. He fires her on the spot and sends her on her way. His brother Jose observes the exchange and is immediately curious about her recent tardiness. As she walks off, Nina drops a small stuffed bear on the sidewalk. Jose picks it up and follows her to the subway to discover the truth. She confides to him that she has learned something about herself and is forced to make a decision. Rather than go their separate ways, Jose and Nina embark on a day‟s journey that alters the course of their lives forever. They go from the park to a street market, then to a restaurant where Jose arranges a new prospective job for Nina with the owner. Nina begins to trust Jose and opens up to
him about her troubles. Rather than judge her, he gives a listening ear. It occurs to him to invite her to his parents‟ home on the beach. For the first time, Nina is exposed to a loving family. Her own family, though once loving, is now broken. Jose reveals to Nina that he has a past. At one time he was on the top of the world but a tragedy destroyed his dreams. Now he works in the kitchen of his brother‟s restaurant, hiding away from life. They are two wounded souls who come together. The writer and director of the film said that in their brokenness they fall in love, but rather than pursue romance, they keep their relationship platonic. Jose decides to help Nina with her situation, which in turn redeems him of his past regression. They come to find that God‟s plans are sovereign to their own and that true love comes solely from Him. ■
By Charity Bishop
My name is Rory. I‟m supposed to be ordinary. Until I met the Doctor I was! I‟ve lived over two thousand years, I‟ve died many times, and my daughter is married to the Doctor. How did it happen? I‟m not really sure. Love stories aren‟t supposed to be complicated. You‟re supposed to meet a girl, fall in love, get married and that‟s it. But with the Doctor around, it‟s never simple. You meet a girl and fall for her even though she doesn‟t notice you. One day she makes up a fantastic story about a “Raggedy Man,” who will take her on adventures in his “Blue Box.” You play along, because it makes her pay attention to you, until you discover the Raggedy Man really does exist. He‟s a space traveling Time Lord. Before you know it, you‟re so muddled that you can‟t be sure what‟s up or down. But there are some things I‟m sure of, and they‟re this:
“I don't know where he is, or what he’s doing, but trust me. He's on his way. There’s a man who's never going to let us down. And not even an army can get in the way. He’s the last of his kind. He looks young but he’s lived for hundreds and hundreds of years. And wherever they take you, Melody, however scared you are, I promise you, you will never be alone. Because this man is your father. He has a name, but the people of our world know him better... as the last Centurion.”
Amy’s Doctor Everyone falls for him. It‟s a given. Amy had a crush on him at first, but she chose me in the end. I had to die a few times for her to figure it out, but still.
Many Deaths For awhile, it seemed like I died every other day! Here‟s a total tally: ▪ Amy’s Choice: Having saved Amy from evil pod-people, I disintegrated into dust. ▪ Cold Blood: I was fatally shot and then erased from time! (This time, I really did die!) ▪ The Big Bang: The TARDIS exploded and obliterated reality… and then it didn‟t (long story). ▪ Day of the Moon: My death was faked by a government official so we could carry out the Doctor‟s plan to kill off the Silence. ▪ Curse of the Black Spot: I drowned. Amy saved me with CPR. ▪ The Doctor’s Wife: House, an entity, took over the TARDIS and faked my rapid aging and death to scare Amy. ▪ The Angels Take Manhattan: This is the most important, since it changed our lives forever. I saw myself die of old age, then got sent back in time with no way forward. Amy chose to follow me there, rather than lose me.
Wait For Me I spent two millennia waiting for Amy to emerge from the Pandorica. When Amy got trapped in a faster time stream, she spent 36 years waiting for us to rescue her!
Selfless Love Amy thought she could make me happy by letting me go, so I could have my own kids. But we stuck together.
The In-Laws Our daughter, Melody Pond, “began” on the TARDIS on our honeymoon, so she‟s part Time Lord. She grew up to marry the Doctor. Now, that‟s complicated. ■
By Christy McDougall
Recently I read an article about Jane Austen in which Edward Ferrars was remarked upon as unintelligent and uninteresting. It‟s all the rage these days to denigrate the quiet, virtuous character of Edward, along with the similarly quiet and virtuous character of Edmund Bertram (who was called a “dull parson” in the article). They are rarely dealt with kindly in pop culture essays. Apparently, an interesting character (and especially an interesting lover) must be as proud and handsome as Mr. Darcy, as vivacious and popular as Henry Crawford,
and as wronged and attractive as Captain Wentworth to be considered “interesting” in our culture. Never mind that Mr. Darcy‟s pride gave great pain to the woman he loved, Henry Crawford‟s vivacity couldn‟t keep him from being deeply distressing to the woman he pretended to love, and Captain Wentworth‟s wrongs made him resentful and hurtful to the woman who loved him. At least they‟re “interesting.” I find the same responses to Austen‟s female characters. Elizabeth Bennet‟s mistakes in judgment are acceptable because she‟s charming, funny, and intelligent; Mary
Crawford is forgiven for being a source of temptation to a good man because she is so vivacious and amusing; and Marianne Dashwood is one of Austenâ&#x20AC;&#x;s most attractive characters despite being self-centered and lacking in self-control. Meanwhile, the quiet, restrained, giving, humble characters like Elinor Dashwood, Anne Elliot, and Fanny Price are often called dull, priggish, or uninteresting. Those are the very characters I tend to be most attracted to, and their love stories are the ones I love to return to. While I marginally prefer Edmund Bertram as a character to Edward Ferrars, Elinor Dashwood ranks among my all-time favorite fictional heroines and their quietly angstridden, fairly unromantic romance is one of my favorites because the characters are quiet, restrained, and virtuous. I identify very much with Elinor, but still wish to be more like her. Sensible (in a modern understanding of the word: having common sense) and intelligent, she has a great capacity for self-control. She wants above all to keep from giving pain to her family in the midst of an already painful situation, so she keeps her own pain to herself. Unlike her sister Marianne, she can look outside her situation and see that other people have a right not to be distressed by her behavior. Constantly denigrated by her sister for a lack of feeling, constantly forced to show kindness to her rival, her true depth is only
revealed to her family after she has passed through fire for it. No other Austen character deserves a happy ending as much as she does, unless it is the man she loves. I think no other Austen character is as Christ-like as Edward, despite his youthful errors in judgment. He is heir to wealth and an estate, but it has not made him proud. He has an unworthy family that he treats with respect. In the face of every inducement to indulge himself and fulfill his desires, when he can get nothing out of his selflessness for his own immediate happiness, he refuses to break a promise to a poor, foolish, vain girl. Though he could gratify his feelings with Elinor, he could remain wealthy and on good terms with his powerful mother, he could live a life of ease and happiness, if he only does what his flesh urges him to do and break off his engagement with Lucy Steele, he refuses to let down the person depending on him. He puts the happiness and future of an unworthy, rather stupid girl above his own and chooses to walk through fire for her sake and for the sake of doing what is right.
Elinor and Edward‟s entire romance is conducted in silence, emptiness, pain, and virtue. They don‟t passionately insult each other like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy; they don‟t indulge every sensation like Marianne and Willoughby; they don‟t do what is merely convenient, like Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins; and they don‟t console themselves for foolish, youthful choices by becoming sarcastic, indolent, and meddlesome, like Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. They quietly try to do what is best for everyone around them except themselves. Their virtue is a quiet, deep thing, like the submarine currents of the ocean, not a tumultuous, showy thing, like a storm at sea. As in all good romances, fairy tales, and theology, Edward and Elinor are ultimately rewarded. I believe they deserve each other.
Elinor deserves a man who is good and not merely attractive; Edward deserves a woman who is thoughtful and not merely vivacious. The virtues of both make them a blessing to each other, and so they will be happy in their marriage. That is a far more lasting and true romance than one that is all fire and no substance. Jane Austen understood the substance that is required for a true love story, which is why she wrote transformation for her faulty protagonists, steadiness and resolve for her virtuous characters, and happy endings for all who deserved it. Elinor and Edward are a picture of the greater reality, that virtue ultimately ends in reward, whether in this life or the next, and of the greatest Romance, between Jesus and His Bride. ■
Aragorn & Arwen, Lord of the Rings
By Ella G.
A dear person in my life has a blog entitled, “They Don‟t Make Them Like They Used To.” Recently, I found myself pondering this small, yet profound, statement. It is never more true than in the beautiful little film An Affair to Remember. I watch it whenever I encounter it, no matter what channel it might be on and regardless of its duration left. I‟ll even watch the last five minutes and not feel gypped— after all, that is the best part of the entire film. It is the story of Nicky Ferante, an American playboy, and Terry McKay. They meet abroad an ocean liner currently on the Mediterranean
Sea. In what appears to be a match of polar opposites, Nicky and Terry strike up a blossoming friendship. Terry accompanies Nicky on a visit to his grandmother, Janu‟s, house, while at port. During an afternoon together, Nicky and Terry realize they are in love with each other. But there is a catch (as there always is): the two individuals are currently engaged to other people, ones they do not love, but still… As the boat docks, Nicky and Terry make a pact. If in six months, with no talking or writing, they still feel the same way about each other, they will meet atop the Empire State Building and live happily ever after.
However, things don‟t go off without a hitch. One character is led to believe something about the other one when it is the furthest thing from the truth. What draws me to this movie? Is it the amazingly talented (and gorgeous) cast of Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr? Those two were just right for their parts and utterly believable in the performances they give. The part atop the Empire State building makes my heart feel sad every single time, and you feel the character‟s pain and anguish, anger and loss. Aren‟t films supposed to do that? Besides, it‟s just pretty awesome to say that you love a Cary Grant movie. It sounds, I don‟t know, classy somehow. Or do I keep coming back to An Affair to Remember because of its lack of junk? This generation equates the word “affair” with sex, but in this classic romance there is no between the sheets action. In fact, while still engaged to other people, Nicky and Terry show nary a kiss and when they do lock lips, it‟s off camera. Do you have any idea how rare that is? Granted, movie production codes wouldn‟t have given a green light to this film had sex or nudity been present. Theater going audiences wouldn‟t have tolerated it either and the audience is the bang for the actor‟s buck as the saying goes. Like I said, “they don‟t make them like they used to.” Don‟t get me wrong, I enjoy current romantic comedies and dramas as much as the
next girl. But An Affair to Remember brings me back to a simpler time and place. One where romance meant more than your bedroom performance. One where actors had to rely on their own talent, not on stunt men and special effects. Those elements are cool, but some of the most well beloved movies stem from raw, meaty dramas… and you don‟t need to blow things up to achieve that end. I get giddy and sentimental when I think about this classic, which was voted the American Film Institute‟s 3rd best romantic film of all time. It has quotable lines and poignant moments, and a lovely theme song sung by Vic Damone. Ever since first watching it, I don‟t look at the Empire State Building the same way again. And yes, I cry in the exact same parts each time. It doesn‟t matter if I‟m starting in the middle or not—trust me, the tears will come. This is the product of a remake and Warren Beatty/Anette Benning made their own version of the story. Sleepless in Seattle bears similarities as well. I‟ve seen them all and while it‟s just my opinion, none possess the magic of this one. That‟s why I come back to it again and again and again. It‟s why I‟ll be seeing it on the big screen soon. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr drew me in and now, there is no getting away. ■
By Ellis Drake
The Renaissance artist Raphael is called a prince of painters and the painter of grace and beauty. Raphael didn‟t just paint love and beauty; he lived it! The real-life story of him and his amata is one of the most mysterious affairs in history. The legend of la Fornarina (or Raphael‟s amata, as she should more accurately be called—his one true love) begins with three small passages in Vasari‟s Lives. Vasari was a big fan of Raphael and couldn‟t say enough about his overwhelming good qualities: he was kind, modest, affable, honorable, graceful, intelligent, and had “fine manners as would have sufficed to cover up any flaw, no matter how ugly, or any blemish, no matter how large.” This prince among men only had one vice, according to Vasari: he was “a very amorous man… fond of women.” And, the ladies were equally fond of him. One day, Raphael was walking down the Via del Governo Vecchio on his way either to or from the Villa Farnesina, where he was working on a fresco for Augustino Chigi. He saw a beautiful woman in the window of a bakery. It was love at first sight, but it wasn‟t just a physical attraction: according to Melchior Missirini, Raphael found her mind as beautiful as her body. In very short order the two began a love affair so intense Raphael wouldn‟t leave her side and abandoned all his commissions. Chigi eventually moved the woman into his villa in the hope she would keep Raphael at least in the building, if not working, and his plan worked: Raphael not only finished The Loggia of Psyche, but drew and painted most of the figures in his own hand.
We don‟t know much about this woman. According to legend, she was the daughter of a Sienese baker. In Italian, baker is fornarino; hence, she became known as “la Fornarina,” the baker‟s daughter. Historical records back the legend up: there was a young woman living with her father, a baker from Siena, on the Via del Governo Vecchio the very year Raphael painted the Loggia of Psyche. Her name was Margherita Luti. Beyond that, most of what we know of her comes from her possible portraits. The first, and most
important, is titled La Fornarina. It‟s in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome and depicts a woman wearing a turban and little else. With one hand, she points to an armband clearly inscribed with the name RAFAEL VRBANIS, and on the other hand she wears a wedding ring. This is one of the greatest portraits of the Renaissance, and not just because of the story behind it. It is unusual in several ways: first of all, Raphael was only one of three artists painting female nudes from life during the Renaissance. If you‟ve ever looked at a painting by Leonardo da Vinci and wondered why his nude women look like statues, there‟s a reason—he sketched their bodies from statues and probably never even saw a naked woman in his life! Second of all, it‟s not for nothing that Raphael is called the painter of grace and beauty; he‟s famous for painting beautiful women, especially his Madonnas. The woman in La Fornarina isn‟t beautiful in the way most of his female figures are. All the Madonnas he painted with perfectly symmetrical features and porcelain skin represent idealized beauty, not real women. La Fornarina is flawed. Her features aren‟t totally symmetrical and her face has a strange, individualistic, and unconventional beauty. Unlike the idealized Madonnas, La Fornarina is filled with the specificities of body and character that attracted and held the love of the artist. She‟s not a decorative object but a personality captured on canvas; and while she‟s beautiful, it‟s because she‟d beautiful to him, not because she‟s perfect. The other painting associated with Margherita Luti is La Velata, or The Lady of the Veil, which is in the Pitti Palace in Florence. No one is actually sure this is a portrait of Margherita, but many assume it is because her pose is the same as in La Fornarina, and she wears the same pearl ornament in her veil. Yet her features are symmetrical and more conventional than La
Fornarina. Perhaps La Velata, which was painted for a paying client, is an idealized image meant for public consumption and therefore not entirely true to the woman being painted. La Fornarina, on the other hand, is the woman as she really was— unidealized, imperfect, and a complete individual—painted by Raphael solely for himself. Raphael‟s love affair with Margherita was short-lived: while trying to avoid marrying the niece of Cardinal Bibbiena, to whom he‟d been engaged for several years, the artist “secretly attended to his love affairs and pursued his amorous pleasures beyond all moderation.” One day Raphael was even more “immoderate” than usual and came home with a high fever due to his excesses.
Fornarina painted by his apprentices are not flattering: Giulio Romano‟s in the Borghese Gallery in Rome is probably the best but even that version gives her a usedup, tired look. It‟s almost as if without Raphael‟s love for her there is no beauty in her features. Critics in later centuries have not been kind to La Fornarina, either. Giovanni Morelli described the woman in the painting as “so common and repugnant that one could believe one had before one‟s eyes a woman in abject condition.” Morelli isn‟t the only person who had a negative reaction: Fabio Chigi called the woman in it a “lower-class prostitute”; David Farabulini wrote, “This woman is not only gauchely mawkish, but obscenely half-nude”; and an eighteenthcentury English traveler described La Fornarina as, “much more soft and better coloured than that of Giulio; but at the best is Disagreeable enough; of Dark, Sullen, Brown complexion; Eyes and Hair very Black, and like a Blackamoor; nor are her Features at all Elegant.” But he didn‟t tell his doctors the cause of his fever, so they prescribed the wrong treatment. Raphael must have known he was going to die, because “he made his will and first, as a good Christian, sent his mistress away after giving her the means to live honestly.” He died alone at the age of 37. Some say the woman in The Transfiguration, the last piece he completed, is a portrait of Margherita. What happened to Raphael‟s amata after his death? Vasari tells us Raphael made his servant Baverio and his apprentices promise to look after her. If Raphael‟s apprentices did vow to care for Margherita in his absence, they didn‟t adhere to that promise. Records show that Margherita Luti entered a convent shortly after Raphael‟s death. After that, her name disappears from the historical record. Meanwhile, the copies of Raphael‟s La
Besides being repeatedly relegated to the lower classes, Raphael‟s amata has also been labeled as belonging to racially feared groups: the Muslims in the 18th Century and the Jews in the 19th, for instance. While people find pictures of nudes threatening in general, they seem to find La Fornarina particularly so, almost as if her very existence offends their sensibilities while at the same time inspires their imaginations. Honoré de Balzac wrote a novel whose plot was a thinly veiled adaptation of the story of Raphael and his amata called La Peau de Chagrin; and both Henri Fuseli and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (among others) depict her numerous times in varying degrees of seduction. Although not all of these interpretations have La Fornarina causing the death of Raphael outright, she is always “at best a
prostitute, at worst an assassin of art.” Perhaps the real reason people find La Fornarina so threatening is because, although the portrait oozes sexuality and desire, it‟s not an easy desire. Raphael shows the viewer that real beauty comes from love, and is perhaps suggesting that true love can only be found in the face of a very human woman. If so, this would be an attitude that would have challenged church doctrine, an infraction that may have put the Pope‟s favorite painter on shaky ground. The central message of La Fornarina seems to be that in love, one can‟t hide behind grace, idealization, fine manners, or beauty—a pointed message considering the man who delivered it. Such a raw representation of both the fear of and desire for love isn‟t what one would expect to find in a work by the prince of painters. Maybe it‟s why Raphael kept it hidden in his studio.
In my novella, The Fornarina Affair, I describe the story of Raphael and his amata as the most famous love affair in the history of Roman art. That‟s probably overstating things but the story of La Fornarina is still known and very much a part of contemporary Roman life. Not only are there at least two famous portraits of her, we know the specific places where she lived. You can visit the bakery where she and Raphael met, and if you‟re lucky enough to be allowed in the back of the building, you‟ll find a plaque that states, “Here lived Margherita Luti, the amata of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino.” Although the story of Raphael and Margherita Luti is tragic (especially for Margherita) there is still something hopeful about it. For Raphael, a man who clearly desired so much, to die alone with only two teenagers who worked for him and a distant relative in Urbino to lay claim to the wealth he‟d assiduously accumulated —for such a man to not have fulfilled the promise presented in La Fornarina, and to have found love only in a painting—that would be the real tragedy. And so, whether the story of Raphael‟s famous amata is true or not, it is perhaps more comforting to think that he died having found love, instead of in endless pursuit of it. ■
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