What Sally Rooney’s books (and series) say about love in our time

Injunction to detachment, separation and lack of communication: in writing or on our screens, Sally Rooney’s works tell us about contemporary love and provide a sharp look at the barriers that stand between us today. To analyze.

Relationships 2.0

Dealing with an unfathomable relationship, trying polyamory or trying not to love your friend sexually… Does that speak to you? However, this is not about your love life, but about the plots of Sally Rooney’s novels. Acclaimed by critics, and described as the voice of a generation, able to provide an informed and fair commentary on modern relationships, the Irish author makes love and the difficulties that accompany it central to subject of his works.

Eternally judging the choices of his characters, Sally Rooney describes the complexity of our romantic relationships and how they collide with modern orders of detachment, rationalization and freedom. There are many partners, freely admitting one’s sexual orientation and exploring one’s sexuality: many topics such as Normal People, Conversations with friends hope Beautiful world, where are you?address of the majority.

Dealing freely with questions of desire, for the first time, but still taboo topics such as endometriosisthe works of Sally Rooney are firmly rooted in their time, that of young adults in the grip of sex, the end of love in the traditional sense of the term and the redefinition of commitment.

Screenshot – Conversations with friends

Privileged love

All the characters are not the same as Sally Rooney, however, and this creates chaos.

By dealing with different social classes, the author illustrates how our privileges stand among us. ; while some of its heroes and heroines belong to an intellectual and urban petitbourgeoisie, others come from poorer backgrounds and, although class rejects, sometimes experience financial difficulties.

Vectors of shame and misunderstanding, these differences in approach are at the root of deep misunderstandings : at Normal People, unable to confess his discovery to his spouse and not daring to ask her to stay, Connell flees Marianne without explanation, putting an involuntary end to their story. To this variety of social backgrounds is also added Conversations with friends an age difference, as Frances, twenty-one, was having an affair with a married man over thirty. “Things and people are developing around me, belonging to vague hierarchies, and to systems that I don’t know and don’t really know anything about,” he analyzed.

While her characters clumsily try to dominate each other, Sally Rooney reminds us that love is always above all a subtle and changing relationship of forces and power. Locked in a priori fixed social identity, the protagonists can only try to build bridges between them and them without much success.

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Screenshot – Chat with friends

From the impossibility of saying things to each other

The real common thread in Sally Rooney’s works is that the incommunicability that characterizes our love relationships remains.

Punctuated by heavy silence, the series Normal People and Conversations with friends heavy with things left unsaid. From their refusal to share their feelings to the lies that keep them apart, the characters constantly struggle to find their words and their reports lack authenticity; they are unable to show themselves weak or ask for helpas evidenced by the scene where Frances thinks she’s having a miscarriage, but doesn’t dare tell her partner.

Sally Rooney also remembers the ambivalent role played by technology in these interactions: if it allows us to open more easily, it also offers the possibility of conducting a better, bolder and more attractive version of ourselves. “I want to kiss you. I hope it doesn’t show too much,” Nick wrote to Frances late at night.

it The opposition between the digital and the reality is in the image of the exploded identities of the author’s heroes and heroineswho carefully cultivate a reputation that is completely out of step with their inner self: while Frances, Marianne or Bobbi affect cynicism to hide their desire to be loved, Connell or Nick, on the other hand, seem to be prisoners of an apathy that keeps them from surrendering.

Sally Rooney put her finger up the way we learn to compartmentalize our feelings to release them from their hold on usat the risk of not being able to establish links.

His works make self-disclosure the only way to free oneself from these artificial relations of dominance: When they drop the masks Frances, Bobbi, Marianne, Connell and Nick are able to love each other in peace.. “You have to experience some things before you understand them,” Frances finally concluded. “You don’t always analyze everything.”

Isn’t it time in 2022, Sally Rooney seems to ask us, to tell ourselves we love each other?


Also read:

Normal People, a series about the burning and sensitive love of young students

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