Lovein About a Boy
InTheRoad Less Traveled,M. Scott Peck speaks of love in a psychotherapist’s point of view.He suggests that romantic love, the love feeling and falling in loveare false definitions of love. He goes further to term these as “notlove at all” and explains that the reason behind his thought isthat what individuals consider as love involves the temporarycollapse of ego-boundaries which is different from the expectedextension of self, as it happens in sincere love. Scott suggests thattrue love commences when we fall out of “love.” Love is an act offree will, and all the parties need to make an effort for itsestablishment (O’dwyer 57). All the parties involved should purposefor the spiritual growth of self and that of the individuals we love.For this, Scott suggests that for individuals considering themselvesto being in love, they must aim at encouraging each other’sindividuality. Some of the sentiments of love described in Scott’sbook are also reflected in the story by Nick Hornby about the life ofWill.
NickHornby wrote Abouta Boy, toexpress the love live of Will, a thirty-six-year-old, who describeshimself as being ‘cool.’ Will quest to find love but wonders thebest place to find this. He questions himself about love and at onepoint, he considers dating single women as the best option forperfect love. Will lives off the royalties of a song that his fatherwrote nearly thirty years ago. The novel describes him as committedphobic in taking responsibilities. He doesn’t work, and most of hissovereign time is spent smoking, reading about pop culture, as wellwatching television programs, as he leisurely enjoys life. Portrayedas a teenage thinker, he can do anything he wants and has neverachieved anything with his life. A loner with few friends and livesin a dream world living through other people as shown in the novel,he is seen developing, accepting responsibility and helping Marcusbecome a teenager as well, turning to be a family man. Will likeshaving many girlfriends and is determined to utilize any opportunityto have them. Due to his habit and the prevailing state ofloneliness, Will decides to join a single parents group named SPATwhere he can get the opportunity to know lots of women who find ithard to meet men. In the group, Will finds Suzie and quickly thinksthat he can fall in love with her. He even lies that he has a son towin Suzie’s heart. The kind of love that Will seeks to develop isthat which Scott defines as false. Scott, through his book TheRoad, not Taken,describes genuine love as that which involves the extension of selfand not the collapse of ego-boundaries. Will’s determination oflove is driven by self-interests as expressed by his formerrelationships. He fails to stick to one lady and this time, heconsiders single women as the best type to date. Willis later meetsand becomes friends with a youthful boy, Marcus.
Inone of the SPAT group meeting, Will became attracted to one womanSuzie and is willing to court her. Through his pursuit, he takes herto one of the picnic events which he organized for the group, and itis in the activity that Will meets Marcus, son to Suzie’s, bestfriends. They both agree to take Marcus home after the event whereunfortunately they find his mother passed out due to a drug overdose.Will accompanies the group to the hospital but is unsure what he isgoing doing there. This displays Will’s love for Marcus and theconcern he has for him. Over a couple of days, Marcus is distressedby the fact that his mother had tried committing suicide (Hornby 19).He looks for solace at Will’s house where he invites himself.Pressure increases at school as bullying increases the boy needsmoral support as he is worried about his mother trying to commitsuicide for the second time.
Throughthe situation of Marcus, Will starts learning to offer parentalassistance as well starts showing responsibility. He offers to takeMarcus out one afternoon so as to ease the pressure he experienceddue to the situation back at home. This is the kind of love expressedby most fathers in an attempt to please their children especiallywhen they note that their children had emotional disturbances. Insuch a situation, Will expresses genuine love which is described byPeck as one where an individual goes an extra mile to satisfy theother party. He buys him stuff which is a common thing done by aloving father towards a son. However, at this instance, Will had notattained the love that he wanted. He had not achieved what had drivenhim to the single mother’s center. He had not managed to fall inlove with Regina and was still using Marcus in an attempt to achievethis. Peck (83) suggests that one cannot be a source of strengthunless he or she nurtures their strength and that one cannot extendlove to other if they lack the love of self.
Marcusis portrayed as a caring young man who is deeply concerned about thestate of his widowed mother. He thinks of any method that couldrevive the desperate and depressed state of his mother. Marcus plotsto make Will and his mother, Fiona live together. This comes afterFiona had attempted to kill herself through a drug overdose and theact shows the level of concern that Marcus has for his mother.Despite being a high school student who is always bullied by otherstudents, Marcus displays a high degree of integrity and affectiontowards his mother. The kind of love shown here is that of a sontoward a desperate mother. This can be described as true love. It isa decision made by Marcus to love his mother to the point that hestrives to find a solution to her woes. On the other hand, Marcusdevelops a strong friendship with Will and attempts to use this tolure him into having a relationship with his mother. The level ofdetermination held by the young man towards the creation of lovebetween Will and his mother is outstanding. Fiona is however not thetype preferred by Will, and this does not please Marcus, but neitherdoes it reduce his determination. Marcus is unwavering. He fights forthe sake of his mother he struggles to win his mother what she waslonging for, and what death had deleted from her life leaving her ina condition of depression. Through Marcus, the process of achievinglove is depicted as one that contains dozens of hurdles. The personwhom he thinks would be a solution to his mother’s misery turns outto be inconsiderate despite the many tactics that Marcus employs.
Marcusis determined to see his mom and Will being in a relationshiptogether however, their differences are witnessed when they spendtime together during the outing (Hornby 58). They have little to sayto each other affectionately. However, Marcus is determined to bringthem together. In this plot commitment and investing of energy andeffort towards the people one loves is depicted. Marcus is not readyto quit or lose energy towards the people he loves as portrayed whenhis mother warns him against visiting Will but insists on. His questfor the right to think right and think for himself is seen when hedefies his mother’s refusal on visiting Will. Later he realizedthat Will cannot marry his mother but remained to be his friend. Hefinally finds a weakness in Will, which he plans to utilize inachieving his goal. His discovery of Will’s deceit as a fatherbecomes a tool for pinning Will.
From the start of the novel Will remains mysterious in the contextof love. He pretends to be ready for a dedicated relationship butwith time, and even goes to the point of cheating that he has a son.He even uses Marcus to win the hearts of other single women. He goeson to forge that he had a two-year-old son and a divorced wife so asto use this as a way getting into a relationship with a woman at thesingle women’s group (Trish n.b). By use of deceit, Will lacksdiscipline, which is stated in TheRoad Less Traveled afundamental element in the love process (Trish n.b). His liescontinue all through to the point of Marcus blasting out his lieabout the son. Ellie, a tough fifteen-year-old, befriends Marcus, andthe two get into a relationship. Ellie is constantly in trouble atschool, but Marcus flouts this and goes on to love the girl. Thesituation offers Marcus a rare opportunity in his life to learning afew lessons by himself. Both Peck and Nick clearly describe cases oflove, with the Lovein a Boy beingthe epitome of love description and an avenue through which love ispractically displayed.
Fromthe novel, Marcus is depicted to have experienced love from and atdifferent angles. The height of his love life reaches when Marcusfalls in love with Ellie. Here, he gets into a different kind oflove. The type of love depicted by the two is the romantic type aselaborated in the book. Both Ellie and Marcus share contributesubstantial efforts towards the establishment, maintenance, andgrowth of their love. Ellie goes out of her way to accompany Marcusto visit his father. The mystical nature of Will is finally unmaskedwhen he openly tells Rachel that Marcus was not his child, and theirbond came to an end. Lack of personal discipline by Will causes himlose someone he loved as he had invested a lot of energy andcommitment. Discipline is an essential element in a love relationship(Peck 83). It affected Will to the point where it was impossible forhim to help Marcus with the crying mother (Hornby 78). Marcus throughthe love he had toward his mother decided that the only way to helpher was to sing at the school variety show an act Marcus friend Elliedeemed suicidal. Will says that “the only people that meant so muchto him were Marcus and Fiona, but Fiona was about to fall off theedge.” It is a realization for Will that his superficial characterdidn’t fulfill him like before.
Marcus`smother displays the fatality of love. She is a desperate anddepressed single woman struggling to raise a high school teenager.From the kind of love expressed by Marcus towards her mother, Fiona,it is clear that Fiona shares the same towards her son because loveis a two-way affair as put by Peck (Peck 83). Fiona is however in amiserable state after breaking up with Marcus’s dad who leaves withanother woman in Cambridge. Fiona tried to love a man who failed toshare the same and eventually ends in a breakup. The withdrawal oflove from her husband significantly affects Fiona leading todepression which ends up in an unsuccessful suicidal attempt. Marcusidentified Fiona’s trouble and struggled to save her. He persuadesWill to date Fiona to offer her the love that she longed for.
Thenovel ends during a Christmas festivities held in Will’s place withMarcus, Rachel’s son Ali, Fiona and Ellie present. “Every man isan island, but some men are clearly part of island chains. Below theocean, they are connected” Will remarked as a reflection of how hislife has been. This statement described Freeman from the time he wasa loner, lacking friends and believed in doing things alone. He laterrealizes the importance of being connected with other people,sharing, and being committed to each other implying a transformation.Through his life, he has been exposed to various individuals who havehelped shape his life. As the main character and the center ofattention in the novel, Will’s life clearly illustrates thedifferent state and types of love. His life and that of the people heinteracts with show the effects of love. The love between Marcus andWill, for example, saves the life of Marcus’s mother whom theyfound lying on the seat in an unconscious condition after a suicidalattempt (eNote n.b). The same affection makes Marcus go to jail dueto Ellie’s misconduct. The presence of people in his house alsoshows him as welcoming and loving.
Thenovel shows Will Freeman as one of the characters that grow as wellchanging he turned from his idea of living alone to having morefriends as well his actions from acting like a teenager to being aresponsible adult. Fiona as a character is used to indicate the issueof mind health (Elmazi 24). It shows how depressed people try out onworking on their mind wellbeing, even sometimes to the extent oftrying to commit suicide. Marcus, on the other hand, is displayed asautistic hence Hornby demonstrates that issue of mental health islike any other aspect of life and common as other problems peopleface in life. Conflict display within the book from Marcus goingcontrary to mother`s warning against visiting Will as well throughhis family. Whereby, he can’t live the usual standards of familyhence relationship conflict. Hornby through the book showsdevelopment, caring and taking responsibility.
Elmazi,Elbulan. Abouta Boy: An Analysis of the Novel by Nick Hornby and the Film by Pauland Chris Weitz.St. Gallen: Kantonsschule Am Burggraben, 2013.
Hornby,Nick. Abouta boy.Penguin, 1999.
O`Dwyer,Kathleen. ThePossibility of Love: An Interdisciplinary Analysis.Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Pub., 2009. Print.
Trisha."Trisha: The Road Less Traveled by M.Scott Peck-DetailedSummary." Trisha:The Road Less Traveled by M.Scott Peck-Detailed Summary.N.p., 2012. Web. 11 May 2016.
ENotes."About a Boy Analysis – ENotes.com." Enotes.com.Enotes.com, 2015. Web. 11 May 2016.
Peck,Morgan Scott. Theroad less traveled.Random House, 2012.