by Jonathan Franzen
Love Quotes in Freedom
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
"I spend my life jumping out of my skin with frustration at myself."
"That's what I love about you."
"Oh, love now. Love. Richard Katz talking above love. This must be my signal that it's time to go to bed." (3.4.359)
It isn't clear what Richard means by saying "love." He might really be confessing his love for her. Or he might be using the word in the way one might say, "I love the way peanuts come in shells." Or he might just be trying to get her into bed. But Patty's pained reaction to the loaded word leaves little doubt that she's been waiting to hear him say it for over twenty years.
And why had he stuck with Connie? The only answer that made sense was that he loved her. He'd had his chances to free himself of her – had, indeed, deliberately created some of them – but again and again, at the crucial moment not to use them. (3.5.92)
In this book we have to keep looking out for words like "free" and "freedom," and here we see a particularly interesting use. Connie has allowed Joey to be nothing if not "free." Is this part of what makes him love her, that she makes no demands?
"Parents are programmed to want the best for their kids, regardless of what they get in return. That's what love is supposed to be like, right? [...] But my point is that I've given some real thought to this question of love, regarding you. And I've decided –"
"Mom, do you mind if we talk about something else?"
"I've decided –"
"Or, actually, maybe some other day? Next week or something? I've got a lot of stuff to do here before I go to bed."
A silence of injury descended on St. Paul. (3.2.138-144)
This scene is pretty brutal, for showing how heartless Joey can be towards his mother. On the other hand, the difficulties in their relationship have stemmed directly from Patty's suffocating love of her son, and here she wants to indulge in talking about it some more. So maybe Joey is right for ending the conversation, knowing it will only dig them into deeper difficulty. Does that make sense? What do you think?