The Desire of Love in “A Mercy”
“Love is the irresistible desire to be desired irresistibly. ” – Robert Frost The conception of love throughout the novel changes drastically from innocent to a sense of desertion. The way Florence shows her love for the blacksmith illustrates to the reader her inexperience with the emotion.
Love was a pretty difficult topic to write on because of the fact that the novel was narrated by so many different characters from beginning to end. The irony on the basis of love is was basically the fact that the blacksmith doesn’t feel the same way for Florence as she feels for him.
Later on in the novel I noticed and finally understood the title of the novel “A Mercy. ” It was simply because of the Love of a human. Illustrated in the concluding paragraphs Morrison states “It was not a miracle. Bestowed by God. It was a mercy. Offered by a human. ” Love is often defined as an intense feeling of deep affection, and the way Florence expressed her love for the blacksmith emphasized her youth not only in age but also with the emotion itself. Florence showed consistent signs of jealously and bitterness because she was able to handle such affection.
She was regularly bitter with the thought of her mother giving her away when she was younger, not knowing the reason for her mother’s rational decision. One way Florence showed her jealously was when the blacksmith adopted a young boy and began showing him more attention than he gave Florence. Florence, overtake by jealously and rage got into a physical altercation with the young child and in the end ended up breaking the child’s arm. Florence says in chapter 9 that she didn’t try to hurt the young lad, she just simply wanted him to stop crying, but she also goes on to say how she heard his shoulder crack but continued anyway (164).
This is what leads me to think that it was done out of her jealously and rage and not by other less harmful means. The incident not only caused a huge dispute between her and the blacksmith but it also projected to the reader that Florence was unable to accept the fact that the blacksmith could show affection for someone else, other than her. “You see the boy down and believe bad about me without question? ” (165) Florence goes into detail speaking about how the blacksmith came into the room and his immediate assumption was that Florence had did something to harm the boy.
The excerpt that I think hurt Florence the most (165) was when he said to her “You are nothing but wilderness. No constraint. No mind. ” Basically telling Florence she is as wild as an outdoor animal and can’t control herself or her emotions. Like a toddler Florence craves independence and attention but yet from the activities that Florence encountered in her past, she also fears desertion. As I stated before, Florence and the blacksmith got into a physical altercation and the blacksmith ended up striking Florence and he abandoned her by telling her to leave the presence of him and his adopted son.
Not only did the blacksmith aim to hurt Florence physically but he also attempted to hurt her verbally because after her told her to leave his presence her called her a (166) “slave by choice in both boy and mind. ” In the novel Morrison compares this sense of abandonment to that of a familiar feeling Florence felt when she was given up at birth. Knowing that that event scared Florence negatively for life, it really gives the reader the ability to feel the wrath of the emotional roller coaster Florence is feeling at this point in the novel knowing she just lost a man she cared so deeply about.
The love Florence has/had for the blacksmith soon des and turn simply to hatred because she still can’t realize the mistake she made in hurting Malik. Yes in my opinion the blacksmith was wrong for striking her but she was somewhat lucky that that was all he did. (184) Later, on in chapter 11 Florence elaborates more on her closing quotes in chapter 9 which was “the claws scratch and scratch until the hammer is in my hand” (167).
But in chapter 11 Florence gets into another tussle with the blacksmith (184) in which she strikes him with a hammer and cuts him severely with tongs before she runs away. Later on in this chapter and the preceding chapter (195) is where readers learn why the novel is titled “A Mercy. ” The novel is named for Jacobs agreement to save Florence from a life that would have been worse than the one she experience on the Vaarks farm. “It was Not a miracle bestowed bu God. It was a mercy. Offered by a human”