What is love? What How many different kinds of love can we find in the different scopes of reality? To what extent love changes people's lives? Do we talk about real love when we are only thinking about our wish to posses someone or something?
Let us start by saying that the concept love comes from the Latin utterance amor which is composed by two morphemes "a" that means "without" and mor that means "death", this lead us to think that love has a connotation opposed to the death. A definition of love is "the emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. In religious context, love is not just a virtue, but the basis for all being ("God is love"), and the foundation for all divine law (Golden Rule)." (Wikipedia: 2010, Love). We can find infinite examples of love through the different cultures around the world, for instance, Hinduists, Taoists, and Buddhists assure that fear is the opposite of love; consequently, it is necessary to make a reflection about the circumstances that generate fear in our lives owing to the fact that in those conditions we are unable to be architects of love. Following the same line, we can also assume that without love our lives can be filled up with feelings like sadness, spitefulness, and rage that will take us to a state of implicit or explicit solitude or abandonment.
In our conventional world the most open and observable way to illustrate love is by making reference to an amorous relationship between man and woman, in this sense we can find icons that denote this kind of love, but there are some other feelings which may be misunderstood by anyone thinking of them as love, for example, greed and isolation.
However, in this unpredictable world there is another sample of real love, which can be classified as philanthropy; it is the love for humankind, which has been expressed in many ways and by many people who have become idols and patterns of behaviour for the spectators of their actions.
In the Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald, 1925), we can find samples of the different sorts of love mentioned in the previous lines; for example, we can first allude to the relationship between Tom Buchanan and his wife Daisy, in which we can find an important cause for their marriage failure: Daisy married to Tom being in love with Jay Gatsby, nonetheless she made up her mind when considering all the economical benefits that this civil union may bring to her life because we have to reflect on the fact that Daisy was used to living in a well-off style, so she decided not to wait for Gatsby
She had a debut after the Armistice, and in February she was
presumably engaged to a man from New Orleans. In June
she married Tom Buchanan of Chicago with more pomp
and circumstance than Louisville ever knew before. He
came down with a hundred people in four private cars and
hired a whole floor of the Seelbach Hotel, and the day before
the wedding he gave her a string of pearls valued at three
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. (Fitzgerald, 1925: 82)
Daisy married Tom being in love with Gatsby as we stated before, this fact becomes explicit in the following passage:
"â€¦ she groped around in a waste-basket she
had with her on the bed and pulled out the string of pearls.
'Take 'em downstairs and give 'em back to whoever they
belong to. Tell 'em all Daisy's change' her mine. Say 'Daisy's
change' her mine!'.
â€¦she cried and cried. I â€¦ found her mother's maid and we
locked the door and got her into a cold bath. She wouldn't let
go off the letter. She took it into the tub with her and squeezed it up â€¦" (Fitzgerald, 1925: 82-83)
In this way, Daisy became the wife of a man whose high economical richness and elevated social status were the counterpart of a poorly developed spiritual consciousness. This fact becomes evident when Tom was not present during the birth of his child, and also because Tom had a parallel relationship with a married woman called Myrtle Wilson, here we can find another example of an ill type of love, which was based on the sexual attraction that Tom felt about Myrtle "She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women canâ€¦" (Fitzgerald, 1925: 28) , and it was also based on the economical magnetism that Tome inspired to Myrtle "â€¦He had on a dress suit and patent leather shoes and I couldn't keep my eyes off himâ€¦" (Fitzgerald, 1925: 40) Tom has an ill relationship with Myrtle, who is the wife of an unsuccessful mechanic that lives in a poor neighbourhood of New York. Myrtle dreams of becoming Tom's wife, but Tom only uses her as an object when he needs her in bed. Moreover, in one occasion during one of their "parties" Tom lost control and broke Myrtle's nose with his open hand when she dared to say Daisy's name. (Fitzgerald, 1925: 41). Besides, the leash bought by Tom for Myrtle's dog symbolizes that he has the control over her: Tom is the owner of Myrtle, and he can do whatever he wants to her.
Another situation we can focus on in which love is involved is the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy; they first met before World War I, when the truth was that Gatsby had nothing to offer her except his love; however, Gatsby lied about his past and made Daisy believe that he belonged to a "good family", mainly because of this reason Daisy fell in love with him. Unfortunately, the War came and took them apart because Gatsby went to the Battlefield, and fortuitously was lucky enough so as to get back to America transformed into a real wealthy man who had plenty of possessions to present to his beloved Daisy. Unhappily, his love was married to another man, and Gatsby started his "enterprise" to bring Daisy's love back again. The book shows that Gatsby's dream of being together with Daisy is something pure:
"He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart." (Fitzgerald, 1925: 103)
Gatsby's unique sin was that he became a man different from what he really was so as to conquer Daisy's love; nevertheless, Daisy's sin was bigger than that one because all along their story she only thought of wealth, this is clear when Gatsby invites Daisy to his mansion and because of the richness of him, she begins to feel some kind of "love" and even an unusual sort of emotion for Gatsby
He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher-shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. 'They're such beautiful shirts,' she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. 'It makes me sad because I've never seen such-such beautiful shirts before.' (Fitzgerald, 1925: 101)
Daisy's materialism is patent after this vain speech full of empty feelings, which will be the basement of an affair between Gatsby and Daisy, but how long may last a love based on fake feelings? When the truth about Gatsby's and Daisy's love comes up and Tom realizes that he is losing his fatuous trophy, he does everything within his reach for recovering his wife
'You're crazy!' he exploded. 'I can't speak about what happened five years ago, because I didn't know Daisy then- and I'll be damned if I see how you got within a mile of her unless you brought the groceries to the back door. But all the rest of that's a God Damned lie. Daisy loved me when she married me and she loves me now.' (Fitzgerald, 1925: 140)
Finally, all the paths go to the way they always seemed to go, Daisy and Tom blame Gatsby for Myrtle's death and stay together inside his bubble founded upon wealth, power, and emptiness; Gatsby is assassinated by Myrtle's husband; and no one except Gatsby's father and Nick Carraway, the unique real friend that Gatsby had in his life attend to his funeral. Love did not take place at all in the final scene.
We have seen that relationships between man and woman may be far away from real love, but the kind of love that a man may feel for people has other types of extents. Ernesto Che Guevara studied medicine, so he helped people, and also struggled for revolution, peace and union amongst countries.
Ernesto felt the need of traveling across Latin America so as to know and to compare treatments for leprosy, this decision meant a lot of changes in his life; first of all, he forgot all the opportunities that he had as an upper-middle-class man, then he gave priority to his love for knowing people and helping them and did not give priority to his girlfriend "Chichina's hands disappeared into the hollow made by mine" (Guevara, 2003: 37)
Ernesto and his friend Alberto went trough different proofs through their journey, sometimes the had to suffer because of the cold weather in the south part of the continent, in other times they had nothing to feed themselves and they had to sort things out as best they could for having a piece of bread or some meat and mate, and they shown a real love for adventure, because they always improvised everything related to their survival. Moreover, Ernesto did not pay attention to his painful asthma, often without the necessary medications he required, even though he suffered of perilous attacks of this illness during the journey, we can say that in this way Ernesto revealed a tough personality and inner strength.
Through their trip, Ernesto and Alberto (who was a chemist) realized about not only the needs of people ill of leprosy, who were treated as polluted people unable to do anything but rest, isolated from the world in an island. They shown their care for this ill but full of love people by changing the way in which they themselves treated them: by shaking their hands, by eating together with them, and also by playing football with them. They learned that these people had a lot of good things to give to the rest.
However, this was not the only thing that Ernesto and Alberto saw during their journey because the were also able to verify the suffering of the poor people :
The couple, numb with cold, huddling against each other in the dessert night, were a living representation of the proletariat in any part of the world. (Guevara, 2003: 78)
This scene reflects how the oppressiveness of the powerful people against the poor and abandoned ones became on of the most important concerns for Ernesto, who gave all the money he had to this poor and cold couple. This fact was the precedent of Che's future actions for the people.
In sum, we can say that along the lives of every person love can appear in very dissimilar ways, from the tender love of couple in love to the rage that money can produce when things do not work out because of the lack of real values. Love is present when spiritual things are more powerful than vane and materialistic things. We could also see that the love in a couple is no the unique way to love, because we found a great icon who gave his life for the people who needed him more: the poor ones, and someone whose dream was to join all the countries so as to be better and stronger, even though his way to get this was related to the weapons. Love is the strongest feeling that move people's lives.