by Jonathan Franzen
Love Quotes in Freedom
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
For the defense: She loves Walter!
For the prosecution: The evidence suggests otherwise.
For the defense: Well, in that case, Walter doesn't love her either. He doesn't love the real her.
He loves some wrong idea her.
For the prosecution: That would be convenient if only it were true. Unfortunately for Patty, he didn't marry her in spite of who she was, he married her because of it. Nice people don't necessarily fall in love with nice people.
For the defense: It isn't fair to say she doesn't love him!
For the prosecution: If she can't behave herself, it doesn't matter if she loves him. (2.3.192-197)
What do you think of this last line? Does it really not matter? Well, what happens if we turn that statement around to say, "If she doesn't love him…" Then what? It seems to follow, "If she doesn't love him, then she won't be able to control herself." Which is exactly the case. If this is true, then not loving him turns out to be exactly the problem.
It pains the autobiographer to admit that she was a tiny bit embarrassed to let her family see him, and, worse, that this may have been another reason why she didn't want a wedding. She loved him (and does love him, does love him) for qualities that made abundant sense to her in their two-person private world but weren't necessarily apparent to the sort of critical eye that she was sure her sister, Abigail in particular, would train on him. (2.3.6)
The key moment here is what's inside the parentheses, as Patty catches herself using "love" in the past tense, and then tries to convince herself that she still loves Walter, repeating the words like they're some incantation. (But we'll ask something else too: Does this sound like love? To worry about what the people around her think about Walter? Hasn't she ever seen Beauty and the Beast or Shallow Hal?)
He'd always liked Connie a lot. Always. And so why now, of all the inopportune moments, was he being gripped, as if for the first time, by such a titanic undertow of really liking her? How could it be, after years of having sex with her, years of feeling tender and protective of her, that he was only now getting sucked into such heavy waters of affection? Feeling connected to her in such a scarily consequential way? Why now? (3.2.278)
Why is Joey so surprised by his feelings for Connie? Honestly, it's almost like he's embarrassed by them. But, as he puts it, "Why now?" It seems likely that the timing has something to do with 9/11 throwing off his equilibrium. Maybe he needs some sort of stabilizing force, or at least something familiar to connect him to the world he knew before the attacks.