Romeo loved Juliet, Juliet loved Romeo, and in the end, they both died to prove it. Neither the Capulets nor the Montagues could understand such love, so neither could allow such love. Romeo and Juliet died to prove it. Yet centuries later, William Shakespeare's darker tragedy is still revered as one of the greatest love stories of all time. The politics of Elizabethan England that pitted family against family are not so prominent in the modern Western world, but the love created between Romeo and Juliet, a love that existed outside the boundaries of societal acceptance, still exists. Many homosexual youths stand on the edge of a lifelong battle for the right to love. But the only love they can ever hope for is one born of loneliness, of desperation, of suffering: the love of Romeo and Juliet; the love destined for end. The love that shatters the very sanctity that love has been expected to preserve. Léa Pool's Lost and Delirious paints an accurate yet painful picture of a lesbian love torn apart by the predisposed expectations of a private high school.
[...] They are never truly happy because the moment of greatest love comes when they end, a whole divided into its original halves. Freud predicted the fall of such necessary romantic love, that homosexuals, when “faced with the conflict between the pressure of cultural influences and the resistance of their constitution, [would] take flight into neurotic illness” (Freud, “'Civilized'” 171). It is sickeningly understandable how discovery would make Tori a slave of society and Paulie a slave of herself; no one really wants to be alone, no one really wants to be gay. [...]
[...] It would have faded away into the “searing reflection” of knowing that “they would never know that joy again,” that the love they had shared was gone but never forgotten (Stendhal 51-52). Paulie seeks proof of Tori's love before she ever considers proving hers in return. She subconsciously sinks into a never- ending world of crystallization, the “mental process which draws from everything that happens new proofs of (Stendhal 45). Each day is broken down into actions, into words, any of which suddenly bear new meaning in Paulie's mind. [...]
[...] She's my best friend in the world and probably the only person that I will ever love like, like the way that Cleopatra—and to hurt her—it feels like I'm choking here, like I'm not breathing. But there's this life that I am supposed to live, this dream that my mother and father have for me and even though it's killing me, I will never be the same loving, goofy Tori with her. I cannot be with her ever again. (Lost) Tori knows only a heterosexual child will make them happy, and so she allows her sister to believe that Paulie tried to rape her, relinquishing herself of any responsibility for sexual contact. [...]
[...] Paul, embracing the idea that promiscuity would perish without promiscuous individuals, and that the monotony of marriage would stem any urge for sexual intercourse or reproduction Cor Polygamous beings forced into monogamous lives, forced to focus their energy on responsibilities, will have no energy left for sex. In many ways, courtly love was born from this obligatory sexual frustration; it offered “important new emotional freedoms to a feudal world on the verge of collapse” (Solomon and Higgins 56). Men could retain their marriages, thus appeasing society and the Church, while developing affairs with the women they truly loved, thus appeasing themselves. [...]
[...] It is not the happy drivel mass-produced on Valentine's Day; it is a kind of suffering forced upon certain individuals. It is love, there is no denying that, but it is not eternal happiness. “Being unable to love is but so is loving, especially when one is gay (Firestone 253). Paulie and Tori could have lived happily ever after, but society decided that could not be. Society has decided that Tori must be forced to decide between her family and her lover, and that Paulie must hang on desperately to the one acceptance she knows. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee