Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is Love enough?

Napolean and Josephine divorce?

I just finished the Josephine Bonaparte trilogy, three thrilling historical fiction books based on one of the most acclaimed love stories of all time, and it ended in divorce and death?? Why must all of these LOVE stories end in tragedy.

When I finished "Gone with the Wind", the most fervent love story of all time, I threw the book across the room. I couldn't believe that I read over 1000 pages only to learn that in the end, their marriage doesn't blossom into the love that they both desired, but decayed and disenegrated painfully in heart ache and despair. However, the difference between these two stories, is that Scarlette and Rhett are fictional characters, the came from Margret Mitchell's active and twisted imagination.

Josephine and Napolean are characters in French history, they were genuine human beings, with actual feelings, and authentic heart-break. Why was love not enough? I wrote a ten page paper in college about how Scarlette and Rhett's lack of communication, and their inability to say "I'm sorry" was ultimately their demise. This story galvanized my perfervid passion of the importance of communication. But Josphine and Napolean talked, they communicated, they were spirit-friends, as she called it, but it wasn't enough. Napolean was convinced he needed an heir to uphold their empire which deteriorated quickly after their divorce. I lay in bed next to my sleep-thrashing husband (he sometimes convulses in an agitated way while sleeping, especially when he is stressed), reading devotedly as I rabidly clung to the hope that in the end, they would be reunited. Maybe they were reunited in death, but they were not by each other sides in the end. It frightens me to read these stories of passion and woe as I often relate so strongly with the characters having had a whirlwind romance all of my own. Is love enough? Will it get us through the hard times? Often, there are small fractures hidden within the foundation which spur rapid crackling and ultimate severing in the end. Communication, as I have said before is key, open, honest, and heart-felt communication. However both of these stories took place during tumultuous times, the civil war, and the French revolution, situations which were not serendipitous to a healthy relationship. Hopefully there will be no uprisings, wars nor revolutions in our future, but no how much we will it, we cannot control all situations. I pray that love will bind us and in the future when our love is acclaimed as the most romantic in history (obviously I have a vivid imagination as well, as I do not actually believe that we will also rule an empire and be remembered throughout history, but for the sake of argument) it will not end in tragedy as so many of them do, but will end with "they lived happily ever after."

Interesting facts I learned while reading these fascinating books.
1. Napolean came to power directly after the French revolution. (Maybe I didn't pay enough attention in history, but I have both of these parts of history categorized in completely different compartments in my mind.)
2. The French Revolution and the American Revolution basically occurred simultaneously.
3. Women, in order to be beautiful, slowly poisoned themselves unknowingly with lead makeup base.
4. Napoleon's family was a crazy bunch of power-hungry deviants.
5. Napoleon and his family were not French, but Corsican. Corsica is an island to the west of Italy.
6. Josephine went through menopause before she was thirty because of the deprivation she went through during The Terror while being held in a disease-infested prison.

I hope you are able to read the books. They are remarkable!


Peter and Leslie said...

perfervid- I have never heard that word in my life. Well done one using the big words.

Peter and Leslie said...

P.S. This is a highly unromantic take on things but I definitely don't think love is enough. Unless its God's love. Human love is often tainted with selfishness I think. As it seems like Napoleon's was. He wanted an heir and he wanted to rule the world (or at least Europe.) My impression is that he was a very end-justifies-the-means- kind of man. That's what I've always thought but I don't know that for sure because I've never read very extensively about him.

Sandra said...

I wish you and your hubby all the best. You two look so good together. I'd hate to know I had to travel to South Korea without mine!

BPOTW said...

Life is definitely full of twists and turns! Sometimes our choices are the only thing to blame.

LadyFi said...

Unfortunately, it's the tragic love stories we remember best!

Vanessa Rogers said...

I am trying to expand my limited vocabulary- perfervid is an example of that ;)