Human relationship is the human’s capacity to make human contacts. Moreover, it’s about how we treat with people and how we connect our needs with relationships. The concept of love and its various dimensions are also come under human relationships. Love comes in many shapes and sizes. For example, a parent may be a child’s first love. After this family members, neighbors and different other environmental and cultural aspects can be the symbol of love. However, defining human relationships is very complex phenomena since the value of relationships is perceived in various way. Love is the central entity that develops, bounds and strengthen individual and social relationship. However, the concept of love is also very debatable.
Sometimes this intimate relationship is so ambiguous that, it is not clear whether “love” is the appropriate term to name this kind of relation. For example, Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Spring in Fialta’ centers on the adulterous relationship between two married people Victor and Nina. Their feelings are hard to explain exactly. Victor says, “I call her Nina, but I could hardly have known her name yet, hardly could we have had time, she and I, for any preliminary.” So, it is hard to name or explain Victor’s feelings for Nina since he doesn’t know even her name. Furthermore he say, “…and I was already kissing her neck, smooth and quite fiery hot from the long fox fur of her coat-collar, which kept getting into my way until she clasped my shoulder, and with the candour so peculiar to her gently fitted her generous, dutiful lips to mine.” We may say that their relationship is more physical infatuation than what we ideally call love. It shows people may sometimes knowingly or unknowingly confuse love with other kinds of feeling.
Though, both love and infatuation are intense emotions and feelings, they are not similar concepts and are often confused for each other. They differ in their intensity, faithfulness, loyalty, confidence and willingness to make sacrifices for one another. Moreover, love develops gradually over time; sometimes in unplanned way. However, infatuation occurs almost instantaneously. Infatuation commonly occurs when sexual attraction is in the center of relationship. However, sexual attraction cannot completely be ignored in love too. It shows love is complex phenomenon and never a clear-cut concept.
Family is the basic social institution where a strong love and relationship develops and flourish. However, In R.K Naraya’s short story ‘Naga’, the father ran away with someone else’s wife leaving his son with the cobra. Moreover, he takes the monkey along with him. The snake charmer boy misses the monkey very much. Generally, we cannot expect that a father can betray his own young son. The slum women say “awful strumpet, to seduce a man from his child” as she had saw a women in blue sari with him. This is the irony of human relationship that one cannot fully love and be faithful even with his or her blood. Another side of love ironically be seen when the young boy loves the cobra and save its life. Though he was trying to leave the old cobra initially, later he rescue it. The rescue of the cobra and saving of its life breaks the anthropocentric definition of love. Though his father abandons him, he saves cobra’s life. Thus, we cannot clearly define what love is and what its limitation is. Next, we can say that love not only accepts person’s flaws but also other creatures feelings.
Moreover this story mocks at the politicians, popularly known as “people’s representatives”. Though these politicians have beautiful slogans to uplift poor people, they just use slums as a vote bank. Instead of developing healthy relationship with public and solving the problems of poor people, they just sustain their political career and take benefit. But the situation of their “vote banks” remains pathetic forever.
Human needs have direct connections with our relationships with our surroundings. In one hand, having needs is not selfish, weak, or dependent. One the other hand, needs are only fulfilled thorough relationships. In other words, if we do not have any needs, we would not have maintained relationships with various dimensions of nature and valued this bond. The living was the need of snake charmers in ‘Naga’, they developed relations with monkey, and they performed in the streets and earned money. Similarly, the “unfortunate child” could get idlies with the help of a women who insists the seller to give him “fresh” and “extra”.
Albert Camus in “The Adulterous Woman” presents symbolic adultery which is prevalent in Janine’s mind but not in action. Marcel and Janine, a childless couple, married for 25 years are in a place of sand, Arabs. It seems as if their love is dying. They starry night skies and silent evenings signifies their gaps. “The years had passed in semi-darkness behind the half-closed shutters. Summer, the beaches, excursions, the mere sight of the sky were things of the past. Nothing seemed to interest Marcel but business.” It shows how lonely Janine is.
The sudden glance of a French soldier and a couple of other feelings followed by a long and impassioned emotional storm inside her shows complexity of love, relationships and marriage. It also shows the other side of human relationship when sometimes it can become personal and social bondage. She is not happy with the situation and she always wants to run away from her husband. Yet, she is not able to choose her way. However, in her thoughts, she enjoys this freedom whenever she gets attention from attractive men. The question is that why she is not happy? The answer is not clear. “They made love in the dark by feel, without seeing each other. Is there another love than that of darkness, a love that would cry aloud in daylight?” As Camus says, “She does not know”, we also do not know. However, she want to be free but ironically she says, “Hold me tight, and never let me go.” Her reply to her husband “It’s nothing” when she was weeping indicates her loneliness.
Similarly, Wolfgang Hildresheimer’s short story ‘Why I Transformed Myself into a Nightingale’ presents role of family in our lives. The speaker’s father was a zoologist and his mother was an actress. At the age of five, his parents gave him a magic set. Before he could read or write, he learned how to make “childish magic”. He describes the magic kit they give him to amuse himself with, which he soon masters and discards when he reads the condescending legend on it, “The Little Magician.” Later, he asks for regular magic lessons and is caught up in giving performances for those who know him well. A noticeable change comes about in the magician’s attitude toward what he does, however, as he grows up:
As the narrator narrates, “This experiences had a decided influence on my letter development in that the joy of changing one useless object into another taught me to search for happiness in knowledge which serve no practical purpose.” However the narrator did not found this happiness before his metamorphosis.
“I outgrew my teacher and began experimenting on my own. I didn’t neglect my academic education, though. I read a lot and went around with school friends whose patterns of development I observed.” Not only narrator, but also other character in the story are shaped by their family circumstances. The narrator explains them, “One friend who had been given an electric train in his childhood was preparing for a career with the railroad; another who had played with tin soldiers decided on a career as a military officer. In this way, the work force was regulated by early influences.” Even there is the indication that Mr. Werhahn, now a newspaper editor, had got a typewriter when he was young. Since he got this typewriter in his young age, presumably, he developed his interest in the printing industry. Nevertheless, the magician is at least convinced that he himself is not influenced by early training, though it becomes obvious through his later “choice of form” that he is deceiving himself.
In Richard Ford’s short story ‘Communist’, the narrator presents triangle relationship: intimacy and conflicts between him, his mother Aileeen and her boyfriend Glen Baxter. Les’s father has been already died. Meanwhile, Glen leaves Aileen following the conflicts between them, and the geese leave the wounded goose behind to die alone. Finally Les and his mother Aileen lost contact ad have not talked for years. The story repeatedly points to the fragility of human relationships. Even we are forced to rethink on the concept of love and human relationship, whether they really exists or they are merely illusions. “Sixteen is young,” Les says in the concluding lines, “but it can also be a grown man.” He is prematurely forced to come of age, “pushed out into the world, into the real life.” He seems to be a victim of having “too much awareness too early in life.” From the example from ‘Communist’, love is a distinctive mode of valuing a person, concept or idea. Glen could not value Aileeen, as a result, she left him.
In conclusion, love is the foundation of human relationships in which basic structure of society is based on. Similarly it is love that harmonize relationships. However, love can be destructive too if one could not value it. Finally, the above examples from various stories, love is more than just words, it is also a faith. Love for your community, family, neighbors, friends, environment and self is all about generating good will and good deeds
Modernism: Tales From Around The Globe, 2015, IACER