by Jonathan Franzen
Love Quotes in Freedom
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
"I wonder if she's actually in love with Walter, or not," Seth mused optimistically, uncorking a final bottle. "Physically, I mean." (1.1.17)
Umm, in love… physically? Isn't that what we usually call lust?
"And so her face gets all twisted, and she's like, 'You think he loves your daughter? You think he's in love with her?' In this high little voice. Like it's impossible for somebody like Joey to be in love with Connie, because I didn't go to college or whatever, or I don't have as big a house or come from New York City or whatever, or I have to work an honest-to-Christ forty-hour full-time job, unlike her." (1.1.123)
This is one of the novel's more potent examples of class-consciousness. Carol immediately assumes that Patty objects to Connie and Joey's relationship on class grounds, instead of more personal problems with Connie and/or Carol. While we can't say which is right (truth be told, it's probably a mixture of all of the above), it's natural for her to latch onto that explanation, since it paints Patty in the worst possible light amongst her neighbors, and it turns Carol into the victim.
For the defense: She loved her kids!
For the prosecution: She loved Jessica an appropriate amount, but Joey she loved way too much. She knew what she was doing and she didn't stop, because she was mad at Walter for not being what she really wanted, and because she had bad character and felt she deserved compensation for being a star and a competitor who was trapped in a housewife's life.
For the defense: But love just happens. It wasn't her fault that every last thing about Joey gave her so much pleasure.
For the prosecution: It was her fault. You can't love cookies and ice cream inordinately and then say it's not your fault you end up weighing three hundred pounds. (2.3.184-187)
Interesting that Patty, of all people, would claim that "love just happens," since she really doesn't have much experience with the word – neither with her husband nor her lover. The love of a parent for her child, meanwhile, can hardly be described as just "happening," especially when said parent doesn't even love her children equally.