How relationships are portrayed in literature
Photo Credit: Stephen Coles
Natalie Barletta – Opinions Editor
Romance has been one of the best selling genres of literature ever since Romeo and Juliet first laid on each other, and Elizabeth Bennett began feeling frustrated about how Mr. Darcy treats her. Nowadays, we have Noah and Allie paving the way for couples everywhere, vampires falling in love with humans and Christian Grey whose odd relationships make you wish that you had someone to take home with.
Even though these series have been topping the bestseller list, they also have been showing unhealthy relationships of unhealthy obsession, and even abuse. Have romance novels tainted our relationship patterns. Well, it depends on how you look at it, and what you deem to be as healthy.
Fifty Shades of Grey
For example, let’s take the erotic best seller “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The book showcases what’s its like for a BDSM relationship. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s basically like giving one person complete control, aka ‘the dominant’ and the submissive has to do whatever the dominant says.
Punishment is an active role in these kinds of relationships, so if you do something that the dominant doesn’t like, you’re punished.
That isn’t the only type of negative action going on in ‘Fifty Shades.’ The main character, Christian Grey, is an extremely controlling boyfriend for lack of better words. Throughout the novel, he constantly went through crazy mood swings.
One minute he would be happy as a clam, but as soon as Anna, the main character, hit a soft spot he would turn into the villain. He also constantly stalked her, and always wanted to know what she was doing and when. Those are extreme white flags, because it’s not healthy when someone has to know what you’re doing and when.
However “Fifty Shades” isn’t the only example of unhealthy relationships. “Twilight” has also shown some unhealthy relationships. For example, let’s take the main character, Bella.
Bella has shown signs of being that extremely needy crazy girlfriend that started a viral sensation a few years back. Bella is that same way to Edward. When Edward left her in New Moon, she basically fell apart. (Sorry for the spoiler alert for those who still haven’t read the book or seen the movie).
Needless to say, that is not how you do breakups, Miss Swan. The character clearly wasn’t a good role model because let’s face it, you can’t put your heart and soul in the hands of another person. Bella clearly does that, because without Edward around, she clearly has nothing else going for her.
Don’t do breakups the Bella Swan way, folks.
These books are a few examples of the unhealthy relationship lit that are out there today. What does this mean for the reader? After all, you are what you read right?
Well not exactly, but the books that we have lining our shelves and loading onto our e-readers are books that often set an example. If it becomes okay in literature, then the society as a whole will soon accept that behavior as being right.
Will there be Bella Swans running around, looking anxiously for their own version of an Edward Cullen? Or worse, will the BDSM relationship soon become the normal relationships? Is the books we read slowly shaping the modern day relationships?
It can be, if you let them. Books are kind of like movies in that way. Sometimes, books, like movies, have the same formula as the movies that rock the box office. Because, let’s face it, who wants to read a book that is similar to real life?
So, the bottom line? Sometimes, it’s best to leave certain things on the page.