Sunday, December 4, 2011

Part XIV Anne Rice's Version of Love

(I hate the quote because I don't believe in it, but it's very common and well known to everyone.) If you ask someone their definition of love, most people would cite 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:

"love is patient, love is kind,
it does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of the wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It aways protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)

For me it always sounded too perfect, too unrealistic. Perhaps there are people who have found such love as described above, but there are much more who have found imperfect lovers rather than perfect lovers. A human being cannot meet such criteria for love. I grew up in a negative environment, the one where I watched my parents battle endlessly with one another, (and no these were not cute lovers' spats; they were filled with screaming, emotional and mental pain.) Thus my view of love is perhaps skewed, and not "perfect." To me fights and arguments and spats are the same; if you fight or argue it means relationship has grown for the worse.

So, what does my life have to do with the title? Anne Rice's version of love? Simple. Human beings view love through rose colored glasses; they don't see the "dark" side of love; one of domination, of love through pain, of loving everyone yet at the same time belonging exclusively to one person; of multiple affairs by someone, and of homosexual love between men. In other words, the things that today we would call "taboo." In Anne Rice's novels there are complicated relationships between parents and children, of mothers in some way acting childishly whether through alcohol (Cry to Heaven) through catatonic sedation (The Witching Hour,) of being powerless before the male authority or economy. Yet despite those qualities the mothers are seen as "heaven-sent" by the male characters and are worshiped. (Lestat's first vampire was his mother Gabrielle.)

Anne Rice has written multiple series and novels such as Cry to Heaven, Lives of Mayfair Witches, Vampire Chronicles, Beauty Trilogy (a sado-masochism type of romance,) and so on. Currently I've read Cry to Heaven but I do have memories of reading others such as the first three books of Vampire series, a little bit of the first book of Beauty Trilogy and somewhat first few pages of Witching Hour.

When reading those novels a number of things will instantly pop out: the helpless mothers, the homosexual love between men, and numerous affairs of main characters, and women that seem to have identical description of delicate beauty of blond hair. (Rowan Mayfair had blond hair and if my memory serves me right she is described as delicate.) The characters of Christina, Tonio's lover from Cry to Heaven has a similar description of beautiful delicate woman with golden hair and dark blue eyes. Beauty also has a similar description. In someways when reading those descriptions, there seems to be a sense of naivety, of a child emerging from the sheltered world of the womb into the unknown and harsh world of today. But very quickly that sense gets shattered.

In most if not all the books, a main character has numerous lovers. Let's take example of Tonio; at first he was in love with Bettina, then he was in love with Domenico, with Guido and while with Guido he has taken numerous male lovers at the same time he was with Guido. Later on he falls in love with Christina and both stay with one another through better and worse. Tonio's and Guido's love isn't easy or freeing. Most of times Guido causes pain for Tonio whether through taking on a female lover, asking Tonio to become the Pope's lover,  be a woman for an opera, etc. etc. and neither seem to object to having multiple lovers while they're with each other! Yet that is best described as "love" by the author. Typically love is portrayed as monogamous and the hero and heroines don't cheat on their lovers but stay together. They also inspire one another and are there for each other.

Although I haven't read the book in ages, I recall The Vampire Lestat, that in the book, Lestat and Nicholas were best of friends (or so I thought. I was surprised to learn they were lovers I think.) But when Lestat turns Nicholas into a vampire, Nicholas becomes a tortured soul and "pure" love isn't enough for Nicholas to be alive. At one point i recall that Nicholas curses Lestat for making him into a vampire and that he's in so much pain that he can't even play violin. Turning someone into the Anne Rice type vampire is a curse and describes the dark side of love; the sado-masochism so to speak.

In Witching Hour, Lasher takes Rowan as his lover and claims to love her whole-heartedly, yet when Rowan is expecting a child from Michalel, Lasher forces Rowan to give birth to the child and it becomes a Taltos so to speak. In 1 Corinthians, as one can see, from Anne Rice's writings, this is not the "ideal" love. Love shouldn't cause these painful things, yet in her books because of love it does cause such pain.

Also, in the first book of the Beauty Trilogy, the Prince falls in love with Beauty but at the same is helpless and might witness Beauty taking on and having multiple lovers. He is the Prince after all, he's the Queen's son and must have authority to keep Beauty for himself, but I think he chooses not to and instead chooses for his lover to suffer through physical, emotional and mental pain.

As one can see, through examples, the taboos that we think of today that aren't considered part of "Ideal" love, are in fact the type of love that Anne Rice talks about and perhaps through her books she urges everyone to redefine and no longer think so narrowly when it comes to idea of love and she urges everyone not to make things misunderstood things a "taboo".

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...