Looking for Love in Brideshead Revisited

Category: Love
Last Updated: 23 Mar 2020
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Looking for Love Throughout the novel Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh, the theme of searching for love becomes clearly apparent through almost all of the characters’ actions. The search for love is of the utmost importance, whether the characters realize it or not. This is particularly the case for Charles, Julia, and Cordelia. As the narrator of the novel, the reader gains the most insight into Charles’ search. He is cautiously optimistic that love will be found, possibly even in his everyday escapades.

I went there uncertainly, for it was foreign ground and there was a tiny, priggish, warning voice in my ear which in the tones of Collins told me it was seemly to hold back. But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city. (p. 26) We first meet Sebastian, whom Charles refers to as, “the forerunner” for all his future relationships. Later we meet Celia, who is too busy with her friends and promoting Charles’ art to develop a fully formed romantic relationship with him. Finally, we get to know Julia, who has the potential to be a true soul-mate for Charles but the potential goes unfulfilled due to Charles’ agnosticism compared to Julia’s reawakened Catholicism with the advent of her father’s acceptance of the sacraments on his deathbed.

Julia’s search for love is first made apparent to the reader when she initially meets Charles at the railway station. “She had made a preposterous little picture of the kind of man who would do […] and she was in search of him when she met me at the railway station. I was not her man. She told me as much, without a word, when she took the cigarette from my lips” (p. 170-171). This shows that even at a young age Julia was in search of love.

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Her first experience with love was Rex Mottram, who had the outward style of a potential companion for her, but in the end lacked substance. From Rex she moved on to Charles, who seemed to be the perfect match, but their chemistry and compatibility could not overcome Charles’ lack of faith and Julia’s Catholic fears of sin and punishment. Finally there is Cordelia who has, throughout her life, struggled to conform to either the secular world or the world of religion: "there are [... people who can't quite fit in either to the world or the monastic rule. I suppose I'm something of the sort myself. " (p. 288). During this struggle she is all the while searching for the love and acceptance of her God. As a young child she was very religious often acting with her own brand of piousness: “It's a new thing that a priest started last term. You send five bob to some nuns in Africa and they christen a baby and name her after you. I have got six black Cordelias.

Isn't that lovely? ” (p. 84-85) As an adult Cordelia flirts with entering a convent and eventually ends up serving as a nurse, both vocations that could be seen as serving God. These three are just a small sample of the many characters who contribute to the overarching theme of the search for love in Brideshead Revisited. In the end, the novel leaves the reader enthralled but still wondering when love will triumph and the main characters will find the inner peace they clearly long for.

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Looking for Love in Brideshead Revisited. (2018, Jul 16). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/looking-for-love-in-brideshead-revisited/

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