There has been a lot of debate on the existence of “real” love (Sidney 24). Proponents have maintained that real or true love exists while opponents have rubbished such claims. However, recent research seems to suggest the existence of true love. Many dictionaries define “love” as an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment to something or someone (Sidney 23).
The definitions do not offer any logical explanation as to why individuals in love behave the way the do. Many sources only describe it as a strong emotional feeling. Indeed, many fallacies that are observed in any love confession make it difficult for one to describe love as being logical. Love is merely emotional and fallacious feeling when analyzed from a logical point of view.
This paper mainly seeks to compare and contrast two kinds of “love” shown in two texts, “love is a fallacy” and “the gift of magi” (Shulman 45).
Many novels, movies and soaps that portray deep love scenes are very popular among young people, especially those yearning for love or experiencing problems with their personal lives. These films and text materials often formulate an idealized feeling of love that is able to stand up against temptation and other obstacles that call for sheer sacrifice. It’s funny that everyone who watches these films or reads such texts never doubts the existence of such love.
In fact, the world is currently witnessing many relationships and marriages that failed because many people are yearning for the idealized love they find in texts or see on screens. The idealized love in the stories is often engineered in a way that it captures the readers/ viewers’ imagination to the point of evoking strong emotional feelings. It’s amazing how a person’s logical capacity diminishes when facing a strong emotional situation.
For instance, people who read fiction books and those who watch movies know too well that nothing real is happening but they are nevertheless carried away deep into the imagination of the writers or actors. It’s not logical to strongly react to something you know too well is unreal. Women tend to cry often when they see sorrowful scenes in the movies or feel envious towards other women in the soaps who they see as leading better love lives.
No one decides to be moved or not by such stories, it just happens. Once in a while one can remember that what he/she sees or reads is just a fiction and thus reacts in a different way. The strong love in the movies, novels, soap operas is often used as a marketing tool to gain more readers to buy the books or more viewers glued to the TV screens catching up on every episode.
The worst effect created by these stories is their ability to make people aspire for such love.
In the real world, “real” or true love is controlled by many dynamic factors which cannot be captured in the movies or stories (Shulman 34). In movies or stories, the main characters who are portrayed as feeling a true love for each other are usually good looking and successful people. In one instance, the woman might be from a disadvantaged background but is nevertheless beautiful.
The man has to be always handsome and successful. In the real world there are many contributing factors other than just beauty and success. There are many instances where love grows between people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.
For instance, a well groomed woman from a God fearing family easily falls in love with a drug addict or gangster and resists all attempts by her family to end the relationships. Love in the real world does not require sacrifice to flourish. It’s more linked to the feeling that people evoke in their loved ones. Many lovers do not expect too much from their partners.
Comparison of the “Love is a fallacy” and the “The Gifts of Magi”
The purpose of this paper is to compare “love” as it is portrayed in two stories, “The gifts of Magi” and “Love is a fallacy”. (Sidney 12) The “Gift of Magi” is a short story that was written by O. Henry. In the story, Jim and his wife Della are poor, but they are sincerely in love with each other and each of them has a possession which they are proud of (Sidney 56).
Della has a beautiful long hair, while her husband Jim has a golden watch that he inherited from his father and grandfather. On the Christmas Eve, both of them become desperate to get a gift for the other, but they have no money. Della sells her hair and gets a platinum chain for Jim’s watch (Sidney 35). On the other hand, Jim sells his golden watch and buys a set of expensive combs for Della. In the end, all the presents are useless but this shows how far they can go to express love for each other (Sidney 57).
This story depicts true love through sheer sacrifice. Della sacrifices her only possession, the long flowing hair to get a gift for Jim, while Jim sells a golden watch that has been passed to him from his father and grandfather.
“Love is a fallacy” and “the gifts of Magi” do not have any romantic similarities (Shulman 20). The stories are set up differently with one portraying love as being sincere and true, while the other portraying it as being a fallacy. Thus, at this stage the paper will mainly focus on the differences between the two texts.
The main difference between the two is the fact that “love is a fallacy” is built around a theme that seems to be hell bent on proving the non existence of “real love” (Shulman 4). On the other hand, “the gifts of magi” indicates that love is real and sincere (Sidney 5). For instance, in the story “love is a fallacy”, the narrator is fond of a beautiful girl Polly, his roommate, and wants her to be his future wife, but his is concerned about her level of thinking.
Therefore, he decides to take her through logic lessons without even having an idea whether she will meet his expectations. He rides on the fact that he is a smart guy and therefore Polly will definitely fall for him. The logic he teaches her works against him as she is able to describe a logical fallacy to everything he says as an emotional expression to show how much he loves her.
The story “the gifts of Magi” is laced with many emotional expressions that underscore the love that exists between Della and Jim (Sidney 12). However, this story does not portray love from logical perspective and thus it doesn’t affect the reaction of each party. Inasmuch as such expressions are rejected by Polly after taking the logic lessons, they work well for Della and Jim (Shulman 30).
The story “love is a fallacy” does not depict love with the kind of seriousness that is seen in the “Gift of Magi” (Shulman 8). “Love is a fallacy” can quickly pass as a comic story that is intended to get the reader laughing rather than being immersed in love like emotions (Shulman 24).
The story shows an illogical love as the narrator is smart and can offer Polly a better life, but she decides to stay with Peter because he has a raccoon coat (Shulman 30). The story revolves around typical campus life but it is spiced up to appear witty. “The gifts of Magi” is so sincere that it has been adopted by various Christian communities to emphasize the need for giving presents during Christmas (Sidney 12).
This paper mainly sought to compare and contrast two kinds of “love” represented in two texts, “love is a fallacy” and “the gifts of magi” (Sidney 12). It further sought to identify whether love is logical or fallacious and whether the love portrayed in stories and films is real or idealistic.
It has been identified that love is emotional and, in most cases a fallacious. The love portrayed in stories and films is always idealistic but nevertheless evokes emotions in the reader and viewer.
The two stories analyzed do not have any similarities, and as far as love is concerned they are set differently. “Love is a fallacy” emphasizes on the portrayal love as illogical, while “the gift of magi” shows love to be sincere and true (Sidney 12).
Shulman, Max. Guided Tour of Campus Humor. New York: Hanover House. 1955. Print.
Sidney, William. The Gifts of the Magi. New York: Dramatists Play Service.1984. Print.