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Paper Number Four

1117 words - 5 pages

Romance novels have remained one of literature’s most influential, moving, and popular pieces of work. Characterized by its sultry love scenes and descriptive imagery, romance novels have captured the interest of millions of readers, especially women. The increasing popularity of such books is evident by the rising sales of New York Time bestselling romance novels, such the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, centered on the sexual and passionate relationships between characters destined to be together. From reading these novels, a person’s deepest desires of romance seem to come alive, leaving no minor detail untouched. Every kiss, intimate thought, and lover’s quarrel ever fantasized is shared in the novel so that readers can feel as though they, too, are experiencing the same emotions as the characters involved. Although initially meant to provide a pleasurable reading experience and touch upon personal fantasies, romance novels have inadvertently changed how readers view romance and intimacy. With the increasing appeal towards the erotic nature and descriptive imagery commonly found in romance novels, society has come to set unrealistic expectations towards romance and courtship.
As more readers turn to the allure of romance novels, these books continued to gain increasing publicity as well criticism. Romance novels have become a top contender in the book industry, accounting “for more than 40 percent of all mass paperback sales” (Stanley). Known for its intense love scenes, high sexual tension between characters, and dramatic scenarios, these novels have embodied the idealized image of “hot romance.” Love within romance novels is often seen as desperate, sexually charged, and primal. Romance novels have become synonymous with the depiction of love being based on intense emotions and passionate unexpected sex. These novels capture readers’ interest and build sense by focusing on “stolen kisses, brief touches, salacious daydreams and almost-but-not quite encounters” between characters (Robertson). Anything within the realms of love and sex are made possible and intriguing by the authors of these novels. Unexpected intimate moments are turned into added twists to the plot; even small-talk between characters is transformed into a declaration of love. With the appeal of touching upon often unspoken fantasies and the opportunities for readers to experience romance as never before, it is understandable how romance novels have remained such an important and popular part of literature.
The images of romance and intimacy represented in romance novels have found their way into societal beliefs of what real romance is. The dramatic and overly descriptive fairytale-like love scenes present an unrealistic image of what true romance is, causing many to believe that lover occurs just as it does it is depicted in the greatest of fictional stories. With steamy sex scenes, highly dramatized conflicts, and ever changing drama between characters, romance novels do...

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