Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Love or Sex

Upon reading these three works, I found myself debating weather or not to side with love

or lust. Zora Neale Hurston in her work, “The Gilded Six-Bits,” clearly leans towards love, while

Andrew Marvel and Linda Pastan in their poems seem to shout of power of lust.

In“The Guilded Six-Bits,” Hurston tells the story of a married couple named Joe and

Missy May who undergo mass character development through the struggle and eventual

culmination of their love. The couple is introduced as living a simple life, entirely caught up in

plain and simple, untainted love. Their meager living arrangements heighten their love for one

another as another area of wealth. Although the two are not rich by material standard, they find

all they need in each other without frivolous objects to distract them. To cement her opening

point of true love, Hurston shows Joe proclaiming his feelings to his wife saying, “Ah’m

satisfied de way Ah is. So long as Ah be yo’ husband, Ah don’t keer ‘bout nothin’ else. Ah’d

ruther all de other women in de world to be dead than for you to have de toothache.” (514) This

shows how such a simple man like Joe needs nothing else in bis life, than true love, and for

Missy May to be happy. However his simple outlook is turned upside down when the devil that

is, material possession, enters his life, brought by Satin himself, Otis Slemmins. Joe finds his

love horribly tarnished by Missy May’s unfaithful acts, brought on by monetary extravagance.

Hurston shows the reader the resilience of true love when Joe eventually comes to forgive his

wife, once he realizes how distractions have led her astray from the amazing gift of plutonic love

they previously shared.

In contrast, both poems speak to a carnal love, rather than the plutonic bond that Joe and

Missy May shared. For instance, Andrew Marvell, in his poem “To His Coy Mistress,”

introduces his lady as reserved and somewhat unwilling to engage with him sexually. In saying,

“Had we but world enough, and time,” (80,ln.1) Marvel does all her can to will his lady to

understand that life is short. He implores her to physical action rather than wasting away with

their limited time together. Reaffirming his point Marvel writes, “Two hundred to adore each

breast, but thirty thousand to the rest,” (80,ln.15) His point is simply that if he had all the time in

the world, he would waste it with her platonically without second thought. However since he

recognizes their mortality, Marvel want his shy lady to abandon all inhibitions, and act quickly

on sexual impulse. In the same fashion, Linda Pastan confronts carnal love in her poem, “Jump

Cabling.” Pastan uses emphatic spacing to heighten arousal within the reader. Drawing specific

attention to the words, “touched, of mine, underneath, together, energy, princess, and start,”

Pastan attempts to highlight sexual emotion. The cars represent two individuals bodies, and the

jump cabling refers to physically sexual interaction. In my opinion, Pastan should have just

called her peom, “SEX,” and she may have received more readers.

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