love as a language problem

In an email-only discussion with alumni about Schwartz's book The Writing on the Wall, one of the participants, Ann Hostetler, wrote about the connection between love and language. In the novel, Renata's love for her twin sister Claudia is intense. They create a secret language which builds what many twins apparently like to build - a wall of exclusive us-only meaning between themselves and everyone else. For Renata this is the essence of love. When she loses Claudia she loses the chance to develop naturally from exclusive to inclusive language. Here is what Ann wrote about this ("Alberto" is another member of the discussion group):

"I’m still intrigued with Alberto’s mention of love as Renata’s problem. Now that Al has amplified the language dimension of the book, I’m beginning to think about love as a language problem and wondering whether love can be expressed in terms of the relationship between content and form . . .

"Certainly Renata’s love for her twin sister was expressed in an exclusive language, and her sister’s rejection--or bid for independence—took the form of a refusal to use the language. From that point on, Renata becomes intrigued with languages she can’t speak to anyone else, so her love of words seems almost autistic. When she enters into what seems like her first long-term relationship with a man, just before the fall of the towers, she fears the point when he will want her to tell him her story—she fears a language that will open the channels of communication."

And here is what I wrote about Ann's comment:

What Ann wrote here (below) is just beautiful and I hope those of us who read all the messages quickly yesterday (who can blame you for that?!) will re-read this one. I've put boldface on phrases that I think are particularly helpful to us. True deep love does feel (in the Romeo & Juliet sense) like a total exclusive world in which it's necessary to keep everyone out and not "share" it with others. It becomes (in its most intense romantic phase) linguistically exclusive as well as exclusive in other ways. Not sharing language (which after all is meant to mean something, to communicate socially) is Renata's impulse in her intense love for her sister. She suffers the loss of her sister several times - first when the secret language is broken and the exclusivity is shattered; again when her twin experiences sex (incest); again of course when Claudia dies. Loss, loss, loss. Then 9/11...and POW: loss becomes social/communal. But loss for her had been associated with love's asocial quality. This is just one reason why she reacts with such intense hatred to the national rhetoric (Bush on TV, etc.) right after the event.

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