Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

How do I Heart Thee: if Literary Heroes Wrote Candy Hearts

Yesterday, a friend of mine pointed me toward some late-afternoon amusement, sponsored, not surprisingly, by Twitter, that allowed me to coast my way through the final hour of the work day. It consisted of a series of tweets from the account of King Henry VIII, in which he humorously inscribed his own witticisms on candy hearts. Take a look:

Naturally, this got me thinking about what other famous figures might inscribe on candy hearts. So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and because I’m a hopeless romantic and literary nerd with a soft spot for brooding Byronic heroes, immortal, forbidden love, and men with adorably dodgy taste in sweaters, my Twitter proudly presents to you, from the hearts of a few of my favorite heroes of literature: Literary Hero Candy Hearts. You’re welcome.

Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from the 1995 "Pride and Prejudice". Image credit: the BBC
Mr Darcy (Colin Firth) and Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle), “Pride and Prejudice” (1995)

Mr Rochester and Jane Eyre in the 2011 "Jane Eyre". Image credit: Focus Features
Mr Rochester (Michael Fassbender) and Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska), “Jane Eyre” (2011)

Mr Knightley and Emma in the 2009 "Emma". Image credit: the BBC
Mr Knightley (Jonny Lee Miller) and Emma Woodhouse (Romola Garai), “Emma” (2009)

Mr Thornton and Margaret Hale in the 2004 "North and South". Image Credit: the BBC
Mr Thornton (Richard Armitage) and Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe), “North and South” (2004)

Edward Cullen and Bella Swan in the 2008 "Twilight". Image credit: Warner Bros
Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), “Twilight” (2008)

Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw in the 1992 "Wuthering Heights". Image credit: Paramount Pictures
Heathcliff (Ralph Fiennes) and Catherine Earnshaw (Juliette Binoche), “Wuthering Heights” (1992)

And last but not least:

Mark Darcy and Bridget Jones in the 2004 "Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason". Image credit: Universal Pictures
Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger), “Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason” (2004)

If you can think of any others, please share them in the comments! Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing: or, Valentine’s Day and the Commoditization of Love?

Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.- Oscar Wilde, the Picture of Dorian Gray

This quotation has been marinating in my brain for the last several days as I’ve been rereading the novel from which it is taken, and I found myself reflecting upon it last night as I entered the grocery store with a friend and was immediately in danger of being sucked into a vortex of Valentine’s Day merchandise: cards, candies, flowers, cupcakes, cookies, balloons, and teddy bears offered fragrant, fluffy, and fatty reminders of the approaching Hallmark holiday. Now, I am in no way averse to the celebrating of Valentine’s Day, but I do think that it’s gotten increasingly like the commercialization of Christmas in the marketing campaigns associated with it.

When I was growing up, my father would come home from work on Valentine’s Day each year with a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates each for my mother and me. When I was in high school, the student counsel sold roses and balloons each Valentine’s Day, and my father (who taught at my school) would send me a rose and a balloon each year, anonymously of course, and he still won’t admit to having done it because there was, and possibly still is, the chance that some boy too socially aware of his reputation to openly like the blind girl might secretly have wanted me to know he was out there, somewhere. Forming an alliance with me might be “regarded as a highly reprehensible connection” by the rest of the school, but I was no less worthy all the same. My dad did what he did for the simple joy of watching me participate in the day with my schoolmates.

The past two years, I’ve received a package from my mother with several dozen chocolate muffins from Vitalicious. Nothing says “I love you” quite like a box of fiber-infused, shit-your-brains-out chocolate chip muffins. More importantly, they’re practical, like my mother. These guilt-free, tasty treats are a weekend ritual for me—a hardy helping of indulgence on a Saturday morning. They are, however, rather pricy on a fixed income, and bank account, heart, and waistline appreciate the gesture.

Such sweet simplicity offers a stark contrast to the advertisement from Amazon.com that appeared in my inbox a few weeks ago: a special deal on the new Kindle Fire, an exclusive Valentine’s Day offer! As gadgets and gizmos replace candy and cuddly animals as tokens of our affection, is the price tag on love getting bigger and its value getting smaller? Perhaps, though we might argue that jewelry store sales have been indicating as much for years. Truthfully though, whether you show your love with candy or a Kindle, what matters most is that your heart is in the right place.

St. Valentine’s name is taken from the Latin word “valens,” meaning strong, powerful, healthy, and worthwhile, according to Latinwordlist.This day isn’t simply about chocolate, cards, and conversation hearts; it’s about cultivating strong, powerful, healthy, and worthwhile relationships, with yourself as well as with others.

So: love to all, not just today, but each day. Remember that you are worthy of love and are loved in ways you probably aren’t always aware of. Most importantly, remember that love, the most priceless gift we have to share, is also the freest. (Restrictions do not apply. Offer good year-round).
Happy Valentine’s Day!