Author: Catherine McCormick

Beauty is in the “eye”of the beholder.

In last Fridays class we analyzed the appearances of the word “eye” in Romeo and Juliet or its equivalent. I want to agree with Sandy’s analysis about how everyone in the novel is more concerned with how other characters look and how they will look together. For example (in my version) Act 1, line 85-88 Lady Capulet states “And what obscured in this fair volume lies; Find written in the margent of his eyes. This precious book of love, this unbound lover; To beautify him only lacks a cover”.  Lady Capulet begins her statement with how handsome Paris is, and then ends with how he is only lacking a wife and how much Juliet (and therefore her family) would gain from this union. It is not surprising that Juliet is so easily able to fall in love with the look of Romeo when considering the example that her parents set for finding and falling in love. One can see Juliet’s enactment of this cultural norm in her family from her lines ” I’ll look to like, and if looking liking move; But no more deep will I endart mine eye. Than your consent to make it fly.” (Act 1, lines 97-99). Basically stating that she would start looking for love but no other factor other than looking is mentioned in her search for love.

This may seem like a stretch, but Octavia’s novel Bloodchild  also has a theme of finding love through the methods in which ones cultural norms dictate. In the novel, Gan is struggling with complicated feelings for T’Gatoi who is of an alien species that is coexists and is codependent on the human race. Gan is clearly chosen to carry T’Gatoi’s babies from his birth and at first this can be seen as a forceful situation. But it becomes clear that it is Gan’s decision whether he wants to do this and whether he truly loves T’Gatoi. This novel is so often mistaken for Slavery, because we have not (obviously) grown up in a colony with another alien species we cannot understand the cultural norms present. But we can understand that in our society it is common for children (of same or opposite sex) to grow up together and to fall in love with each other. The idea that Gan loves T’Gatoi then isn’t so unusual then when imagined within the confines of our own cultural values. Similar to how Juliet falls in love upon first sight because her Mother taught her love is through sight, so to does Gan fall in love with T’Gatoi because that is what his culture taught him.