Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Notion of True Love

Darcy and Eliza wub wub

What is true love actually? To love unconditionally, in life and in death?

The answer to that differs in every culture i suspect. I have this opinion, that people, Asians especially (and because I'm Asian, so i can't say anything for western) are rooted in their culture and literature. It has shaped their sensibilities and sensitivities. I have noticed, in my own culture, we tend to have melodramas that end in death-usually stories about regret and redemption. I have yet to see a Christmas movie where people die horribly in the end (even Scrooge survived!)

Romeo x Juliet-the tragic star-crossed lovers


A typical tv movie in my country during major celebrations would involve people dying on their way to celebrate the holidays. I think this is rooted in what is taught to children. When we are in primary school, we are taught to write about something that is used, and in the end, when it has become damaged or lost its usefulness, it will be thrown away-A horrible thing to teach little kids isn’t it?

Desperate love is popular in Japan is because, my opinion purely, of Tale of Genji. Genji is a bishounen (which explains a lot about why bishies are valued there) who falls in love with his stepmother (who looks like his deceased mother). Because that love can never be, he becomes a womanizer. He eventually marries but still pursues his other affairs. He then raises a little girl, Murasaki, who looks like his stepmother and when she grows up, he marries her. Because he still marries another, Murasaki becomes a nun and dies. In regret, Genji too dies. You can see the root of unrequited love syndrome, the obsession towards lolicon and incest in manga.

The Chinese literature carries the story of Butterfly Lovers-a couple who could not marry each other because of difference in ranks and wealth. After the man is beaten to death, his grave is located on the path where the lady's wedding procession would pass through. Upon seeing the grave, it rains and the grave opens, and the lady throws herself inside. The grave closes, and they see two butterflies on the grave. This tells a lot about love in life and death. We could also refer to the tragic stories in Dreams of Red Chamber, Romance of 3 Kingdoms, Journey to the West and the Water Margin.

Lee Mong-ryong is Chun Hyang's 'sabangnim'-i love that word!

Koreans, i suspect has not so tragic love stories like Chun Hyung, who suffers because she refuses the advances of a lord, and as she is about to be executed, his husband arrives and saves her. They also have the legend of the filial daughter Sim Cheong who sacrificed herself for her father and is rewarded with her marriage to the Emperor.

Sita's fate is very sad, really

The same goes for India, I believe the scriptures Ramayana and Mahabrata influence the common sensibilities there you can see its evidence in their movies and if they have their own manga, it would show there too.

p/s: this is a reply i made in a forum about how the notion of love differs. :))

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