Perspectives On Love In Bernard Schlink's The Reader

1355 words - 5 pages

The essence of romantic love is the passionate affection one has for another. As Bernhard Schlink favours love over hate, and narrates both the positive effects of a relationship and the negative effects of a breakup, he is portrayed as a proponent of love. Bernhard Schlink uses his novel, The Reader, to express his feelings on the unexpected love between the characters, Hanna and Michael convey both the positive and negative effects of their love. Schlink also uses their relationship to showcase the form of love they possess for one another. By introducing this positive form of love, Schlink highlights the positive effects love has on Michael. Nevertheless, Bernhard Schlink also reflects on the negative effects of Michael’s and Hanna’s breakup. He also shows what effects it has on one another, expressing his feelings towards love. Throughout the story, Bernhard Schlink walks us through the various stages of Michael’s life and shows that he is an advocate of love.
Love can be expressed in many forms and holds a different meaning for every relationship. The love between Hanna and Michael is known as Eros love. Their relationship started the day they came together to have sexual intercourse continuing until the end of their relationship. “I explored her body with my hands and mouth, our mouths met, and then she was on top of me…"(Schlink 25). There was a great age difference between the lovers and their way of showing each other, that their love was present through sexual intercourse.
“When we open ourselves
you yourself to me and I myself to you,
when we submerge
you into me and I into you
when we vanish
into me you into you I

am I me
and you are you” (Schlink 58)
Whenever they were together, there is either sexual intercourse or violence initiated by the dominant force. In most forms of love, the man is the one to lead a relationship; however, this was not true for Hanna and Michael. Whenever they were together, it was expected that Michael would have taken possession of her, however, “when [they] made love, too, she took possession of [him] as a matter of course” (Schlink 33). Hanna had played the role of the man and Michael played the role of the woman and as a man takes possession of her, she would admire it. Similarly, “[Michael] liked to have her take possession” (Schlink 33). Hanna repeatedly shows her dominance in the relationship when her anger gets the best of her. “She [held] the narrow leather belt that she wore around her dress; she took a step backwards and hit [him] across the face with it” (Schlink 55). The abuse Michael had received on their trip was surprising as violence was never expected from Hanna. However, “the fight made [their] relationship more intimate” (Schlink 57). As one changes and as one matures, the same occurs with this relationship. Their form of relationship changed “on this trip and afterwards, [they] no longer took possession of each other” (Schlink 57). Their love was of a unique form which proved to...

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