Tag: DoctorZhivago

6 Unforgettable Literary Love Triangles

Love triangles are all over literature. They’re complex, dramatic, and wildly unpredictable (err—sometimes entirely predictable). These interconnected love affairs get so tangly and confusing, but their circumstances and characters can seem similar from one story to the next. So why is it that we keep on reading the same old tale?


In many ways, the uncertainties and decision-making that plagues characters in these stories often parallel our own circumstances and fears. Should we follow the trail of happiness over money? If I go with choice A, 10 years from now will I be stuck in a never-ending loop of what ifs? But a good love triangle can provide us with guidance.   Add in the fact that these tempestuous relationships are downright entertaining, and we have two very good reasons for constantly seeking stories that feature love triangles.


Though there are countless stories that feature prominent and unforgettable love triangles, here are six love triangles that are simply iconic. Whether it was the shocking and dysfunctional circumstances of their relationships, the pure feelings of love that they represent, the challenges they endured to be together, or the devastating effects of their courtship, these romances have made impressions on many readers everywhere.


1. Gone With the WindScarlett O’Hara, Rhett Butler, Ashley Wilkes



Scarlett and Rhett | Image Via Warner Bros. Pictures


The relationship between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind is considered, by some readers and viewers of the adaptation, an epitome of a classic romance. Others, on the other hand, may consider the relationship between O’Hara and Butler a classic example of an abusive relationship. Regardless, the love triangle (quadrilateral if you count Melanie Hamilton) that the duo finds themselves mixed up in is certainly an iconic representation of tempestuous love.


Headstrong southern belle, Scarlett O’Hara, finds herself smitten with the reserved and respectable Ashley Wilkes who, to her surprise, ignores her in favor of the kind and gentle Melanie Hamilton. O’Hara uses manipulation and patience to win over Wilkes all the while trying to dodge persistent bachelor Rhett Butler whose own determination and superiority complex gives O’Hara a run for her money. The turmoil O’Hara and Butler each face in their respective pursuits makes this affair unforgettable.


2. The Great GatsbyJay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan


great gatsby

Daisy and Jay | Image Via Warner Bros. Pictures


If there is one literary love affair that could possibly rival O’Hara and Butler’s tumultuous relationship, it just may be that of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. The smitten Mr. Jay Gatsby may be considered the world’s biggest romantic or stalker depending on your take.


Gatsby’s love and adoration of the young, pretty, and emotionally unavailable Daisy consumes him entirely, manipulating him to completely reinvent himself into the man whom the superficial Daisy may fall in love with. Their eventual relationship is made complicated by her marriage to the domineering Tom Buchanan whose own superficiality hinders him from giving up Daisy without a fight. The ways in which Gatsby’s adoration for Daisy manipulated his entirety, and the tragic consequences of their love, makes this affair simply unforgettable.


3. LolitaHumbert Humbert, Dolores “Lolita” Haze, Charlotte Haze



Humbert and Lolita | Image Via MGM


Whereas Jay and Daisy’s relationship is memorable for its intense love (though bizarre and dysfunctional as it may be), the relationship between Humbert and Lolita is defined by how dysfunctional it is. Since its release in 1955, Lolita has portrayed one of the most controversial fictional relationships since Oedipus Rex. It was banned in France shortly after it was published and was panned by numerous critics and editors who took issue with the book’s graphic portrayal of sexuality. Others applauded author Vladimir Nabokov for divulging in a conversation on morality and culpability, as well as the underlying metaphors and social commentary. Sixty-three years later, Lolita still manages to raise eyebrows.


Lolita refers to the titular character who evokes the sexual interest of the much older Humbert Humbert. There are just two small—tiny, really—issues. Lolita is twelve-years-old. She also happens to be Humbert’s stepdaughter. Humbert’s convoluted (i.e. inappropriate) sexual feelings towards the underage girl, and the consequences following, forever seals Lolita as the quintessential dysfunctional love affair.


4. The Age of Innocence: Newland Archer, Ellen Olenska, May Welland Archer



Newland and Ellen | Image Via Columbia Pictures

As rare as it is to feel a sense of empathy for the cheater, Edith Wharton manages just that by creating a world in which the happiness of two characters fated to be are ultimately challenged by restrictive social constructs and malicious figures.


Newland Archer is a stereotypical upper class man who is initially consumed by adhering to his social status. His marriage to May Welland appears to be motivated by social convention and his desire to keep his image intact. When he quickly falls in love with the free-spirited Ellen, May’s divorcee cousin who rebuffs social convention in favor of individuality and free-thought, Newland sees a parallel between their shared desire for freedom and passion. The genuine love between the duo is a wonderful example of true love held back by social forces.


5. Lady Chatterley’s LoverLady Chatterley, Sir Clifford Chatterly, Oliver Mellors



Lady Chatterly and Oliver | Image Via Hartswood Films/BBC

Before Lolita was banned, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was targeted for its graphic sexual nature. Like Lolita, the dynamic between Lady Chatterley and her lover, Oliver, spawned debate. It wasn’t an age difference that offended readers, rather it was the thought of a sexual affair occurring between an upper-class woman and a lower-class man that led to protests.


Lady Chatterley, also referred to as Constance or Connie, is a down-to-earth intellectual who is married to an old-fashioned aristocrat Sir Clifford Chatterly. After a war injury leaves Clifford paralyzed from the waist down, Connie experiences sexual frustrations. Her sexual desires, exacerbated by additional marital pressures, eventually leads her to undergo an affair with gamekeeper Oliver Mellors. The intense sexual affair between the duo, as well as the invigorating themes on the human mind-body connection in which their affair embodies (and impacts the cultures of audiences exposed) will stick in your mind.


6. Wuthering Heights: Heathcliff, Catherine, Edgar



Emily Bronte | DIT Archive/Amazon

In a discussion of love triangles, where would we be without mentioning Wuthering Heights. Like Jay Gatsby, Heathcliff’s obsessive love has a strong hold over him, ultimately driving his over-arching desires throughout the story and proving to have a substantial impact on not only him, but everyone else around him.


Considered a tortured romantic soul, Heathcliff has lived his life deeply in love with his childhood friend Catherine who, to his revulsion, is torn between her shared desire for him and her desires for another, the wealthy and well-bred Edgar whom Heathcliff seems to pale in comparison to. The intense love between the duo is (as it always is) challenged by social constructs and Catherine’s dilemma to follow true love or a life of stability and social acceptance. The pressures this trio faces, the sacrifices they make, and the disastrous and far-reaching consequences will go down in history.


Feature Image Via Warner Bros. Pictures

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7 Legendary Authors Who Only Wrote a Single Novel

Readers everywhere have often experienced the profound, baffling, and exciting experience of trying to find more novels written by your favorite author just to realize there are none. 


When we think of novels and the ways in which they have shaped our literary minds and the world around us, it can be quite baffling to realize that the incredible, shocking, and intense nature of the novel isn’t always followed up by another work.   


While many novelists, from Jane Austen to Stephen King, are known for their variety of works, here are some famous authors who have only published a single novel. 


1. J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye



Via Amazon


Published in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye was immediately thrust into the spotlight for its haunting coming-of-age portrayal of Holden Caulfield, an angsty rebellious teen who managed to both resonate with many readers and offend others. The Catcher in the Rye, which has frequently been banned by schools all over the country, was Salinger’s only novel. 


He also released an array of novellas and short stories including the novella Franny and Zooey, and his collection of short stories Nine Stories (1953), which featured “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” and “The Laughing Man.” Salinger published his last written work, the novella Hapworth 16, 1924 in 1965. He passed away in January of 2010, leaving us with the legacy of The Catcher in the Rye.


2. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray



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Published in 1890, The Picture of Dorian Gray was written during the Victorian Era and challenged its rigid sexual and ethical norms by portraying a seductive young man whose narcissism and scandalous behavior becomes his downfall. Though the novel’s editor reportedly removed 500 provocative words from the unpublished manuscript, the blatant sexual tones, homosexual undertones, and depictions of violent crime were met with controversy and criticism.  


While Oscar Wilde wrote an array of short stories and plays, notably The Importance of Being Earnest, The Picture of Dorian Gray was his only novel and he passed away just ten years after it was published.


3. Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights


Wuthering Heights

Via Amazon


Published in 1847 under the pseudonym “Ellis Bell,” Wuthering Heights was met with mixed reviews. It was criticized for the selfishness of its characters, however garnered praise for its originality and the power of the author. 


While the title is considered a classic today and is praised by readers and critics alike, Brontë was unable to experience the positive reception in her lifetime, dying just one year after the novels release. 


4. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


bell jar

Via Amazon


Published in 1963 under the pseudonym “Victoria Lucas,” The Bell Jar offers fans a haunting representaion of mental illness. The novel is centered around a protagonist who falls into a spiral of insomnia, depression, anxiety, and more. The semi-autobiographical novel presented an honest and unflinching portrayal of the protagonists descent and gave readers an insight into the Plath herself who used her real-life experiences as inspiration.


Plath tragically died roughly one month after the novel’s release. She was working on a second novel, Double Exposure, at the time of her death but the unfinished novel disappeared after Plath’s husband inherited her estate. Along with a collection of short stories and much poetry, The Bell Jar remains Plath’s only published novel.


5. Arthur Golden, Memoirs of A Geisha



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Published in 1997, Memoirs of A Geisha was a long-time coming, having been written over the course of 6 years. Golden became inspired by Geisha culture while living in Japan and meeting an individual whose mother was a geisha in her younger days. The time it took to complete the novel was partially due to Golden shifting the novel’s perspective back and forth between third-person and first-person and destroying two drafts before his final unpublished draft, he told CNN.


The 6 years paid off as Memoirs of A Geisha spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list. Though the novel was a popular success, and was adapted into Academy-Award winning film, Golden never published another book. 



6. Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago



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Published in 1957, Doctor Zhivago barely made the cut, having been written under Soviet rule. The novel was originally rejected from USSR publishers because of its challenging of socialism and many of the cultural norms of the Soviet Union. 


The novel exists today because Pasternak smuggled the manuscript out of the Soviet Union and into Milan. The novel earned Pasternak a Nobel Prize in 1958, two years before his death. While Doctor Zhivago wasn’t his only written work, it remains his only novel published.


7. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man


invisible man

Via Amazon


Published in 1952, The Invisible Man brought issues of racial identity, perception, and division to print. It’s startling depictions were met with acclaim from critics and readers alike, and it won the US National Book Award in 1953.


Invisible Man remains Ellison’s only novel published during his lifetime until his death in 1994. Before his death he was working on a second novel, Juneteenth, however a fire destroyed the original manuscript.. Ellison re-wrote a partial manuscript beofre his death and the novel was finished by editors John Callahan and Adam Bradley. It was published in 2010 with a new title, Three Days Before the Shooting.



Featured Image Courtesy of Amazon