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The Genre of Romance Alexcis Tapia

Romance: a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.... Love: an intense feeling of deep affection. According to some of my peers, the whole concept of "Love" is foreign and non-existent.Their point of view is that we need a companion, but not someone to show affection all the time. They believe love is not a need but a want, it is defined as chemical imbalance in the brain that causes infatuation. This stems from past experiences through family and personal relations.

The genre and notion of romance has been around since the beginning of time starting with the story of Adam & Eve. Romance and the concept of love is how many of us are here today, our parents and their parents and so on felt these things called feelings that were later determined to be love and began a relationship out of it. They knew that the person they wanted to spend all their time with was the one they love and the one that was meant to be with them for as long as they live. For my project, I plan on exploring the genre of romance and the effect it has on people and their views of love as they grow up. Many of my close peers do not believe in love and as someone who believes in it fully, I would like to explore and know the reason behind their disbelief. I plan on going through multiple sources such as music, novels, movies, and TV shows that all represent romance and how they play a part in our thoughts about love.

Since I was a child, my mother insisted on me reading, and one of my favorite genres became Romance. I could read about "Love" all day and would go through books within a day. I developed a reading habit at a very young age thanks to my mom and would literally only spend my time reading, nothing else. During my middle school years, our class was introduced to plays and novels that introduced the concept of "love." As more and more of my peers began to read with a hatred towards the novel or play at the time, I began to fall more and more into the assignment, never putting it down. The idea of "love" intrigued me so Much that i had to know more about it, which meant, reading more books.

From the very beginning, plays and novels such as Shakespeare's, "Romeo & Juliet" have influenced what I personally believe, "Love" is and how it is displayed. The love story between the two star-crossed lovers has established the concept of "Love." Although it is considered a tragedy as a whole, the main story is how two young people fell in love so quickly and were willing to die for each other if that meant they were to going to be able to spend the rest of their life together.

The affection and desire showcased between Romeo and Juliet despite knowing they are from to warring households, is so strong. For example, when Romeo thinks Juliet is dead even though she’s in a sleep paralysis, he takes his life in order to be with her. Juliet when she awakes, sees Romeo has taken his life when he thought she was dead and so now Juliet decides to do the same so that they will both live on together in the afterlife. It is tragic but at the same time the most romantic thing ever done.

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“It (Romance) gives a sort of idealistic version of love, even though we don’t necessarily have it in today’s world, it gives us something to look at, and sometimes it gets a little carried away with that because it is so perfectionist, and it’s never going to occur. But I think people look at it as something to strive for" - Caitlin Finnearty

After the whole shakespearean culture and his famous love story, then came the romance novelist of our time, Nicholas Sparks. Undoubtedly, he has written an array of romance novels that have captured my heart as well as other readers. Most of his top novels are actually made into motion picture movies such as "The Notebook", "A Walk to Remember", and "The Last Song" among many others. These novels are very well told stories of love, finding love within one's self, through others, and most importantly one love finding its perfect match.

My all time favorite is, “The Notebook” which is one of the most romantic novels I have ever written. The main plot of the story stars two characters, Noah and Allie, who despite coming from two different sides of the economy, fall for each other in a heated summer one year. Her parents disapprove but that just makes Allie’s love all the stronger. She sees a different life than the one her parents have planned for her with Noah. They each bring out the worst for each other yet also the best. Noah loves Allie more than anything even when she is forced to go back home and doesn’t write back to him for a whole year while he’s at war. They eventually find their way back to each other and although Allie is engaged with someone else and Noah is with another girl, their love trumps all and they end up together. The sad part is, as Allie gets older she develops Alzheimer’s disease. She writes the story of her and Noah’s love so that when she forgets, Noah can read it to her and she’ll come back to him. One night it works and Allie comes back for a little. However, she quickly forgets and panics so the nurses sedate her and she’s put in a different wing. Noah sneaks his way into her room and she remembers him and as they both fall asleep they also die together.

Another top novel by Sparks is “A Walk to Remember” about another two characters, Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan. They find themselves unexpectedly thrown together after a practical joke between Landon and his friends goes wrong and leaves a boy in hospital. As punishment Landon is forced to partake in the spring play. Landon can't act, so he has to get the help of Jamie. You see Jamie doesn't need to be noticed, she is quiet and keeps her self to her self most of the time. Landon and his friends always make fun of Jamie as if it is a day-to-day task, but one day Landon brings up the courage to ask for her help with his lines. Through trials and tribulations leading up to this play Landon somehow falls in love with her. However, Jaime is hiding that she has leukemia and has stopped her treatments. However, she didn’t plan to fall in love with Landon and now she has to say goodbye. Moreover, Landon although heartbroken the love of his life will be dying, he fights through and is there for her every step of the way. They end up getting married and not long after she passes. Jaime changed Landon’s world for the better, she opened his eyes to a world of opportunity instead of trouble. For Jaime, Landon was her miracle, her one true love.

What makes a movie romantic? Romantic dramas usually revolve around an obstacle which prevents deep and true romantic love between two people.Romantic comedies are films with light-hearted, humorous plotlines, centered on romantic ideals such as that true love is able to surmount most obstacles. Some examples include: Titanic, The Notebook, 10 Things I Hate About You, La La Land, Dear John, & Forrest Gump

Movies such as The Notebook, one of Nicholas Sparks classics, is one to fall in love with because we are able to see the story of Noah and Allie’s love come alive after many years apart. Although it is first a novel, the movie does the romance just as well. As stated above, despite their two very different economic statuses, Noah and Allie are meant to be. Love is displayed throughout this movie with scenes that showcase the amount of desire and affection someone can have for another. For example, in the middle of the movie when Allie has gone off back home to start school and Noah who hasn’t heard a word from Allie ends up coming back from the war and buying the house they once spent a night in. He fixes it up exactly how him and Allie had planned hoping one day she would return. It was an act of love according to the narrator of the movie, a crazy one but still all for love.

Another movie to display epic romance, Titanic, is very well known and well loved throughout my female side of the family. The classic love story directed by James Cameron, is all about a young woman trapped in an engagement forced upon by her mother and young man who’s lucked changed when he won the ticket to board the ship. Like The Notebook, these young people fall in love despite being from two different economic classes. Rose, the young woman is locked into an engagement she doesn’t want to be a part of but is continuing to be engaged so that her mother can keep living her luxurious life as well as herself. Jack won his trip on the Titanic by a lucky game of poker. However, his luck would change for the worse. Rose was fed up with her life being controlled and decided one night to end it all and jump ship. Jack was lurking nearby and talked her into not jumping and they became friends. The friendship grew to love and Rose’s fiancé was not happy about it. Once the ship crashed into the iceberg, everything changed. Rose decided from then on, her life only mattered if she was with Jack. They made it off the ship together but in the end, Jack ends up dying holding hands with Rose and she lives on taking his last name. Overall, many scenes in this movie depict the struggle of wanting to love but having forces pull them away from each other.

To steer away from tragic romances, a romantic comedy, 10 Things I Hate About You is about an arrangement made between two boys to try and get one girl and in order to get her they needed her older sister to go out on dates. These boys who made the arrangement get a rich kid in the school to pay another guy to go and take the older sister out. The plan basically backfires because the older sister finds out about everything. However, she realizes that she has really fallen for the guy and so has he. The younger sister also ends up with one of the boys who started the arrangement and everyone lives happily ever after. It is full of comedic scenes, no tragedies, and plenty of romance between characters.

Shows: Some examples are, How I Meet Your Mother, Sex & The City, Grey's Anatomy, Friends

Another area that covers romance besides novels, movies, and music, is TV shows. Some examples of TV shows include, “How I Meet Your Mother,” “Sex & The City,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Friends.” A particular scene from season 9, episode 17 of “How I Meet Your Mother” has one of the characters, Ted Mosby, explaining what love is and means to him. To quote his explanation, “If you’re looking for the word that means caring about someone beyond all rationality and wanting them to have everything they want no matter how much it destroys you, it’s love. And when you love someone you just, you…you don’t stop, ever. Even when people roll their eyes, and call you crazy. Even then. Especially then. You just– you don’t give up. Because if I could just give up…if I could just, you know, take the whole world’s advice and–and move on and find someone else, that wouldn’t be love. That would be… that would be some other disposable thing that is not worth fighting for. But I– that is not what this is." I believe this is a perfect depiction of what love is and especially what it means to this particular character of Ted Mosby.

In addition to plays and novels, romance is found elsewhere. Where you may ask? In music, there are love songs, which are songs about romantic love, falling in love, and heartbreak after a breakup, as well as the feelings that these experiences bring. If you pay close attention, you can understand the meaning behind each lyric. Love songs have been around for centuries and can be found in the histories and cultures of most societies. One example, which happens to come from one of my favorite movies is, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion from Titanic. It is a beautiful love song that depicts loss of a love and how the heart will go on. One particular lyric stands out and that is, “love can touch us one time and last for a lifetime and never let go till were gone.” This speaks to me because I do believe that there is one love that can touch us and will last for a lifetime. It may seem like all I believe in is a fantasy but that is not the case. I’ve seen couples last till their last breath and its beautiful. Yes, there are cases that end up in divorce but that could also be because they haven’t found their one love.

Music: Some example include, "Tell me you love me"- Demi Lovato "She's not me"- Zara Larson "Can't Help Falling In Love With You"- Elvis Presley "My Heart Will Go On"- Celine Dion

In addition to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion, a song like “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” by Elvis Presley is one that makes you feel and think about love. His lyrics depict a struggle of not knowing whether to love or to forget. It is considered one of his most famous and romantic songs of all time. For example, “Wise men say, only fools rush in but I can't help falling in love with you... shall I stay? Would it be a sin? If I can't help falling in love with you....” He wants to fall in love but at the same time doesn’t want to be considered a fool. Some men still consider to this day, that if a man is head over heels for a girl, then he is deemed a fool. However, that should not be the case because that simply means that he is in love with her truly and hopefully she feels the same way. Another lyric from this song, “ take my hand, take my whole life too...” just shows how much he wants this woman and how he would give her his whole life if that meant they would be together. He simply just wants to reach out and grab her hand; just that feeling alone is enough to have him fall in love.

Marjane is torn between two sides: seeing the side of love and happiness through a marriage and the other being that marriage is a gamble, there isn't a point.

Now to relate it to our course, in Persepolis, I found a scene where Marjane is struggling to see what marriage is and if there is even a meaning. This pertains to my topic because she does love someone but from her family and friends she is hearing that marriage is pointless and how it really isn’t about love. They say, “Marriage, its like roulette: sometimes one wins, often one loses. Even if you’re very in love, it can still go bad.” I don’t agree with this because if you are in love and its mutual, everything should be perfect. As you can see, Marjane’s head is kind of split into two because she doesn’t know what to think. Often many people feel the same way as Marjane in this scene and they need to decide.

Fiddes: On page 218, the main discussion is about presence and place. The feeling of being 'at home' or 'welcomed' has to do with love. The sense of being at home (heimlich, as the German Romantic poets put it) implies that we are comfortable about being present, and that our presence is welcomed and affirmed. Feeling welcomed and at home/belonging are two aspects that go hand in hand with the concept of Love. People want to feel they are welcomed and want to feel that comfort knowing someone will always be there, and be present.
Fiddes: "In the language of the New Testament, we are praying to the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit [see Mt. 6:6, Jn. 14:16, Heb. 7:25, Eph. 6:18]. Thus, through our participation [in the Trinity], we can identify three distinct movements which are like speech, emotion, and action within relationships 'from father to son', 'from son to father', and a movement of 'deepening relations'. They are mutual relationships of ecstatic, outward-going love, giving and receiving" (153).
Crossan: "The power of Jesus' parables challenged and enabled his followers to co-create with God with a world of justice and love, peace and nonviolence. The power of Jesus's historical life challenged his followers by proving at least one human being could cooperate fully with God" (252).I believe in this passage from Crossan, he is stating that love is part of the world by helping bring peace and non-justice.
Lastly, to relate my topic to one more area discussed in class, it would be to “Parables of Kierkegaard” by Søren Kierkegaard. In the parable titled, “The Lost Lover,” the question posed is, does despair consume itself? This parable is about a girl in despair over her beloved one whether it is because he dies or betrayed her, it is not declared. The people who see her state the despair is consuming her but to her it is not. Despair should not consume a whole being because that would be the ultimate formula for despair.
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

"The Four Loves" by C.S. Lewis explores the nature of love from a Christian and philosophical perspective through thought experiments. In his remaining four chapters, Lewis treats love under four categories, based in part on the four Greek words for love: affection, friendship, eros, and charity.

  • Storge is liking someone through the fondness of familiarity, family members or people who relate in familiar ways that have otherwise found themselves bonded by chance. An example is the natural love and affection of a parent for their child
  • Philia is the love between friends as close as siblings in strength and duration. The friendship is the strong bond existing between people who share common values, interests or activities.
  • Eros for Lewis was love in the sense of "being in love" or "loving" someone
  • Charity (Agape) is the love that exists regardless of changing circumstances. Lewis recognizes this selfless love as the greatest of the four loves, and sees it as a specifically Christian virtue to achieve.

In conclusion, the genre of romance is seen through many sources ranging from novels, movies, music, TV shows, and our coursework. Romance, to me is real and is possible to achieve. I’ve heard both sides about whether love exists and I can understand why those who don’t believe in it, do not see the way I do. They have experienced different love and have seen too much heartbreak. I’ve grown up on romance novels and have watched as many romance movies as I possibly can. I’ve listened to music when I want to feel love and also when I feel heartbreak over love. Through TV shows, I can get caught up in so many romance scenes that will last me a lifetime. I was able to learn more about love through our coursework as well in Persepolis, Fiddes, Crossan, and Kierkegaard. Love is very much real and existing and although I have not experienced true love yet, I am hopeful one day it will come.

Works Cited

Crossan, John Dominic. “The Power of Parable.” HarperCollins US Imprint: Harper,

Fiddes, Paul S. Seeing the World & Knowing God. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Kierkegaard, Søren, and Thomas C. Oden. “Parables of Kierkegaard.” Amazon,

Satrapi, Marjane. “Persepolis.” Barnes & Noble

Sparks, Nicholas. “The Notebook.” Nicholas Sparks, nicholassparks.com/stories/the-notebook/.

Sparks, Nicholas. “A Walk To Remember”. Random House Large Print, 1999.

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