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Compare And Contrast The Ways "Regeneration" By Pat Barker And "The Rights Of Desire" By Andre Brink Deal With The Theme Of Love

1173 words - 5 pages

Love is the least understandable human feeling. Love appears in all kinds of forms during most novels studied in class. However love is very difficult to categorize, some correlations can be made between 'types' of love and between the characters of different novels. In "The Rights of Desire" and "Regeneration", this is the case. Admiration, sexual attraction, respect and love in the family are seen and dealt with in different ways.
In "The Rights of Desire" the principal theme is the feelings the protagonist, Ruben, develops when a new tenant enters his house. Ruben is a 64 years old man, and the tenant, Tessa, a 30 years old young woman. Ruben is looking for someone to be at home if he has any problems when Magrieta, his housekeeper, isn't around. Tessa is interested in the apartment and turns up on a rainy evening, visibly wet. Their relationship is going to grow as Ruben invites her to drink some wine with him in front of his open fire. Ruben hasn't had any contact with women in his life since the death of his wife and is very impressed by this beautiful young girl. Gradually as the night goes on he is going to develop a desire for this physically appealing younger woman. As the clock turns, the discussions intensify and his desire for this young woman doesn't cease to increase. From this moment in the book Ruben's desire of won't stop expanding. His excitement about her becomes the center of his life. This makes him feel rejuvenated, which he really appreciates. Ruben loves being in love. His love for Tessa doesn't satisfy him enough and he starts to physically and morally desire her love. He can't live without her and when she leaves he continues to cultivate the desire for her.
Tessa however does not clearly reflect love for Ruben, even if she admits to desiring him. She seems to be teasing him and continuously plays with his feelings. He can't stop thinking about her and he sees that a relationship between them would be impossible. He admits the desire he has for her, but doesn't want to force her into his love and therefore plays also the role of her missing father. This creates a complex type of relationship as she tells him everything she would tell to a best friend, especially her love adventures. Ruben is then separated between his feeling of love and desire for her and his promised paternal love. One day his jealousy takes over his role of the father and slashes the tires of one of Tessa's lover.
Desire will change Ruben's view of the world which, in turn will make his world revolve around it. In Ruben's "Note on desire", he officially permits himself the right to loving Tessa. This note also foreshadows the last scene by saying that satisfying his desire would destroy the feeling of desire. This justifies the denial of Ruben when Tessa offers him her body. Ruben doesn't want to lose this feeling on which he has now built all his principles. Explaining why the last and resuming words of the novel are: "My desire is intact".

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