Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tall Tales: Is Love a Fancy or a Feeling? (Part One)

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!
Welcome to a new series in Tall Tales. Whenever you see these words beginning a blog post, they mean that we'll be discussing something that I think is misunderstood or improperly understood. It's only fitting, don't you think, that I talk about romance today? :)
The grand question, especially among home school girls, is whether or not to read romance novels. But I'd like to twist that question just a little, and ask what you're all really wondering. Should we be reading tales of love at all, in our position as singles dedicated to contentment? I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I'd like to offer some of the counsel I've received myself from various resources, and in this post, I'd like to talk about the difference between 'romance' and 'marriage'.

Myth #1: The definition of romance:
 I really prefer Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary for proper, 'politically incorrect' definitions of words. You can find him online here, and I strongly recommend that you purchase a copy of your own. He defines words from a biblical perspective, often quoting Scripture in his definitions. But that's a little side advertisement for my original purpose, which is to post his definition of 'romance' for you all to read:

ROMANCE, n. romans', ro'mans.

1. A fabulous relation or story of adventures and incidents, designed for the entertainment of readers; a tale of extraordinary adventures, fictitious and often extravagant, usually a tale of love or war, subjects interesting the sensibilities of the heart, or the passions of wonder and curiosity. Romance differs from the novel, as it treats of great actions and extraordinary adventures; that is, according to the Welch signification, it vaults or soars beyond the limits of fact and real life, and often of probability.
The first romances were a monstrous assemblage of histories, in which truth and fiction were blended without probability; a composition of amorous adventures and the extravagant ideas of chivalry.
2. A fiction.

True, in the definition above you'll find 'a tale of love' mentioned, but in today's modern literary classifications, that's all a romance is. Word definitions change, granted, but I would like to point out that if Journey of the Heart  is classified as a romance novel, then so should also Journey to the Center of the Earth as 'soaring beyond the limits of fact and real life, and often of probability'.
Clearly, the debate among Christian young ladies has nothing to do with Journey to the Center of the Earth; simply tales of love, specifically the love of a man for a maiden. And I would like to submit to you that 'romance' and 'love' are the wrong words to use. (More on this in part 2)

Myth #2: 'Marriage' means 'Romance novel'
When Phillip proposes to Elnora, does that constitute a 'tale of love' that should be strictly avoided?

The poor fellow needs a helpmeet, ladies. And to get one, he does have to pop the question eventually.

In Genesis 2, God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. And when he saw that Adam was lacking a companion, he didn't give him Tonto or Watson or Hastings. He gave him Eve. A woman.
 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
 But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
-Genesis 2:18-24

When I look through my stack of books, I find very few in which one main character does not get married to another. Is that wrong?

I would submit that it's real.

Especially in the realm of stories, in Dickens, Buchan, Alcott, Haggard, and Finley; in Stratton-Porter and Verne-when a marriage or engagement takes place, it is not for the fulfillment of emotional passions, but the filling of a void-the finding of a 'helper suitable'. Love is part of that, a special emotion that God designed between a man and a woman.

And I would submit that if your passion is to become a wife, a mother, a parent, that you should be reading stories in which marriage takes place. (Including the proposal and the diamond ring.) Fellow bibliophiles, whether you read fiction or non-fiction, the stories you pick should include a healthy dose of reality. Courtship, engagement, marriage, and a healthy Biblical love are reality in the Christian life. If you try to surgically remove them from your reading material, then you're removing something that God designed as 'good' from your mental development. 

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord
-Proverbs 18:22

Don't worry; this is only part one. I'm not finished yet. :) Stick around over the next couple of posts where I'll be talking about the difference between worthwhile love stories and worthless passion novels, fantasizing while reading, and a whole new way to look at this concept. At the end of this series on "Is Love a Fancy or a Feeling?" I'll be posting a very special book review. Until then,

Lady Bibliophile

Comments? Insights? I love hearing from you all in the comment box below or at my email address. Stop by any time. You're always welcome. :)

1 comment:

  1. Nice post! I'm interested in hearing Part two!


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