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What did they learn about the different meanings and understandings of love? What are...

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amarinjlyn | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 20, 2008 at 9:11 AM via web

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What did they learn about the different meanings and understandings of love? What are the different kinds or categories of love?

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 21, 2010 at 9:21 PM (Answer #1)

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In "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," the characters begin to explore the varying meanings of love and start to understand that their former ideas about what love is may not necessarily be the only truths.  Terri suggests that her ex-husband Ed had a "violent love" for her--he tried to kill her after they separated because he was so jealous and angry that he was no longer with her.  Mel says that in the past he remembers having an "encompassing love" for his ex-wife whom he felt he loved more than anything or anyone else.  Mel also describes an elderly couple who were in a serious car accident and says that the old man was so upset because he could not see his wife in the next bed--this man has a "consuming love" for his wife and appears to love her even more than he loves his own life.  Nick and Laura appear to have a "picture-perfect love" as they sit at the table smiling and holding hands.  So these types of love are discussed, but the characters do not come to an understanding about what love really is.  Mel does not agree with Terri, Terri tells Nick and Laura that their love will change in time, and Mel thinks that the old man was crazy.  By the end of the story, the characters are still learning what love is and what it could be, just as we are always learning what love is and could be in our own lives.

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