What do any of us really know about love - Essay Example

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Love is not a medical or scientific example, but is an intensity of feeling that is surfaces in things such as the example described. The story notes that Mel is a cardiologist - that is, a doctor used to formulating medical prescriptions and categorizing human functions…
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What do any of us really know about love
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Love Raymond Carver’s ‘What We Talk About, When We Talk about Love’ is the titular story of his 1980s short story collection that had great influence on a generation of short story writers. The collection and the story specifically consider the extent that in contemporary society if it’s accurate to even speak of a concept of love. Indeed, with biomedical advances, and insights into scientific functioning, many members of society understand ‘true love’ to be merely a collection of definable biological functions. Another section of people are less scientifically rigorous in their characterization of the concept, however they disagree on what constitutes love and to what extent the traditional concept of true love is the same today as it was in past generations. This essay considers the perspective of Mel McGinnis and argues that he presents the most viable insight into the nature of love. Raymond Carver’s short story ‘What We Talk About, When We Talk about Love’ examines the concept of love from a number of angles. One such formulation is presented by Mel McGinnis. Mel posits a version of love wherein a senior citizen couple gets in a traffic accident and the husband is in despair because he is unable to turn his head to view his wife. While Mel’s story about the old couple functions to define love as passionate intensity, the story also has the connotation that love is something that is derived from deep and long-term commitment over many years. This is an example where ‘true love’ is understood by its intensity of expression. Here, love is not a medical or scientific example, but is an intensity of feeling that is surfaces in things such as the example described. The story notes that Mel is a cardiologist -- that is, a doctor used to formulating medical prescriptions and categorizing human functions. It follows that he would be the most confident in overtly defining what ‘love is’. In a sense, Mel believes that love can be understood and defined through reason: love is passionate intensity; love is deep devotion, etc. When Nick and Laura respond to the question they nudge each other under the table and then Nick takes Laura’s hand and kisses it. This is an understanding of love that is not defined but felt. Nick and Laura are not able to define their passion for each other. For Nick and Laura love is, in a sense, defined intuitively. Even as Mel is a cardiologist no effort is made in the story to defined love in strictly scientific terms. In a sense, Mel understands that love cannot be entirely defined in terminology but must be understood in terms of metaphor and example. For Mel this is true as he gives examples of instances of passionate intensity that demonstrate the validity of one’s love for another person. In conclusion, this essay argues that Mel McGinnis presents the most accurate presentation of love. Mel’s perspective is a complex take on love. Through his story he indicates that love is in-part understood through a passionate intensity. In another sense, Mel’s position as a cardiologist demonstrates that he can comprehend the nature of love from a scientific perspective as well. Ultimately, his reluctance to resort to such terminology demonstrates his understanding that love cannot be simply understood in scientific terms, but is in large part unquantifiable. References Carver, Raymond. What We Talk About When We Talk about Love. Read More
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