'What's Love Got to Do With It' is a detailed analytic book that seeks to explore human mating and sexuality. The author Meredith Small analyses the fascination behind the way human genes and gland operate with respect to human sexuality as well as further exploring the culture that we live in and how the same culture affects human sexuality. Some of the questions answered in this book are such as why do people fall in love, is there any other way of interpreting traditional human sexual biology and evolution as well as a series of other mind boggling questions. Current research suggests that romantic love at most times has very little to do with sexual drive but rather it is as a result of the biological imperative of passing on genes. “However in the course of the years, new alternative interpretations regarding the increased role of human females in sex initiation, biologically encouraging and discouraging pregnancy and initiating sexual drive are being came up with”(17). The author suggests that love is just part of many factors affecting the choice of mate; I say love is the most important factor affecting the choice of mate.
According to the author, choosing a mate as detailed out in chapter 5 of this book shows that people have a strong tendency of selecting mates who are somehow similar to themselves in factors such as age, race, income distribution and education background. One of the factors that are considered in choosing a mate is propinquity. This is a broad component that is further subdivided into proximity and deferential association. In this context, proximity is considered to be one of the greatest factors affecting the choice of mates due to the fact that people tend to choose partners that live near them. In a rather unrelated context, choosing a sexual partner is as a result of biological interests whereas the act of choosing a marriage partner is as a result of cultural behavior and social norms. Going by the said analysis, Smalls assumes that sex involves both personal and internal needs while marriage is considered a rather subjective concept that includes public declaration and involves social norms (29).
The whole concept regarding love and social ties is detailed out in the book Sense and Sensibility which portrays the love and life of two sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. In a general context, Elinor and Marianne seem to be very different in terms of personal attributes and characteristics. “Elinor strikes out as the bold and subjective sister often exhibiting traits of self control and prudence while Marianne on the other hand is the emotionally sensitive sister who can also be described as being very enthusiastic”(33). The two sisters also have a younger sister Margaret who although not much is talked about her strikes out as the conservative sister. After the death of their father, the family estate is passed on to their father’s half brother and the author follows the lives of these three women in relation to their new home, their love experiences, romance and heartbreaks.
The death of Mr. Dashwood leads to a situation whereby his property is passed to his only male child leaving the second wife who is the mother of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood as well as her three daughters with only a small income. However before his father’s death, John promises his father that he will take care of his half sisters. This happens for a while until John’s over-ambitious and self centered wife persuades him to renege. Johnny and his family soon take up the Dashwood estate while Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters are reduced to the rather unwelcome guests in the household. Mrs. Dashwood result to looking for a new place where they can move in with her daughters to avert further crisis with Johnny’s selfish and greedy wife Fanny. Soon enough, Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters move to a cottage in Devonshire, near the home of her cousin, Sir John Middleton (57). Despite their new home lacking some of the most important conveniences they had previously been used to, the family is gladly welcomed by Sir John.
What follows is that one of the friends of Sir John Colonel Brandon becomes attracted to Marianne. However, Marianne is not so comfortable with the idea going by the fact that she considers Colonel Brandon to be too old hence not capable of falling in love. During a rainy night, Marianne falls and strains and is helped by the handsome John Willoughby. In the aftermath, Marriage admires John’s good looks and his outspoken nature particularly on matters dealing with politics, poetry and music. Elinor warns Marianne against being very secure and conducting herself in an unguarded way. However, Marianne does not heed to the warnings but the warning come into play when John’s unexpectedly informs Marianne that he is being sent to London on business. Marianne is so dejected that she abandons herself into sorrow.
Another character Edward Ferras who was courting Elinor comes to the Barton Cortege but does not seem very happy. Elinor thinks that the reason for this is because Edward is no longer interested in her. However, it turns out that Lucy who was one of the vulgar and uneducated cousins of Lady Middleton had an affair with Edward. Elinor now begins to understand David’s behavior with her earlier and discards the feeling of remorse and betrayal that she earlier had. According to the author, Elinor strikes out as a charitable character when she goes further to pity Edward for his predicament of being in a loveless engagement with Lucy and having no power to do anything about it due to his gentleman nature (81). During winter, Marianne and Elinor accompany Mrs. Jennings to London where Marianne writes endless letters to John. However, all these letters go unanswered only for the two to meet later where John receives Marianne coldly and later admits of his engagement to a young lady of large fortune. Marianne admits to her sister that despite the fact that they were never engaged with John, she loved him dearly.
Marianne is distraught of the fact that John is finally marrying someone else and not her. She ends up neglecting her health and becomes very sick. On the other hand, John is somehow disturbed by Marianne’s deteriorating health conditions and finally confesses to Elinor that the love that he has for her sister is genuine. John further states that the main reason why he married another lady was because of money and avoiding the risk of being disinherited. He however admits that he is vey unhappy and admits making the biggest mistake in his life. Upon her recovery, Elinor tells Marianne about John’s confession. She is however contempt with the situation arguing that she would have never been able to put up with John’s immoral and expensive nature. Edward ends up marrying Elinor while Marianne marries Colonel Brandon.
From the book What's Love Got To Do With It, the author paints a picture of a society that incorporates other factors other than love in choosing a mate. The author also details out the act of falling in love as being the consequential end of other factors such as the environment that one lives in. However as seen and portrayed by the characters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, love is primarily the main basis why people exist in the social ties that they currently are in. This explains why the two were ready to go to any length to secure their happiness through love as well as having to wait for a very long time before securing this.