The novel does not represent agape love, but one of its opposites. In light of the relationship between the bad girl and Fukuda, how does this relationship exemplify the opposite of love for one’s neighbor?
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In her own inimitable manner, Carson McCullers, in her Southern Gothic novel, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, describes the relationship of beloved and lover.
....Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved. The lover craves any possible relations with the beloved, even if this experience can cause him only pain.
After the bad girl, the femme fatale of Llosa's novel, re-encounters the narrator Ricardo in Tokyo, she relates to her old lover her newest relationship, one with the sinister Fukuda, for whom she smuggles. She tells Ricardo that Fukuda makes her feel alive--"useful alive. But not happy." Further, she explains that "[I]t's a kind of possession." Her feeling possessed by Fukuda, for the first time, alters the bad girl's role of "beloved" to that of "lover." Furthermore, Ricardo remarks in his narration that, after hearing her speak of Fukuda, Ricardo describes his beloved,
It was the first time she seemed to have given herself totallly, body and soul, to a man.
But her giving up of herself is not altruistic or charitable. Instead, the relationship between Kuriko, as the bad girl is now called, and Fukuda is one of exploitation, rather than an unselfish love for one's neighbor. She is a smuggler, finding life "a marvelous adventure, and she comes to Fukuda only when he beckons her since he has other women with whom he engages in carnal activities. Indeed, Kuriko is Fukuda's possession; no longer "the beloved," she comes to Fukuda in "unconditional surrender." Ricardo describes her as being "bewitched" by this Japanese criminal.
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