Analysis of Love in L. A.
The most intriguing aspect of Dagoberto Gilb’s story Love in L - Analysis of Love in L. A. introduction. A. is how realistic it really is. Generally, love stories follow the traditional pattern of two strangers meeting, falling in love and living happily ever after. Love in L. A by no means follows this pattern. Many real life romantic relations do not follow this pattern either. Not following the pattern, however, does not disqualify Love in L. A. from being a love story. The essay is still very much a love story only with a twist. Most of the story’s realism stems from its stereotypical characters.
Very rarely does one actually come across a handsome, well-mannered man on a white horse. Instead, one often finds a dishonest, self-absorbed, unemployed playboy. A prime example of this type of man is the main character in the story, Jake. Gilb provides numerous examples throughout the story to illustrate Jake’s character. The first image of Jake is given by the description of his dream car. The following description exemplifies his playboy characteristics. He needed an FM stereo in something better than this ’58 Buick he drove. It would have crushed velvet interior with electric controls for the L. A. ummer, a nice warm heater and defroster for the winter drives at the beach, a cruise control for those long trips, mellow speakers front and rear of course, windows that hum closed, snuffing out that nasty exterior noise of freeways. The fact was that he’d probably have to change his whole style. Exotic colognes, plush, dark nightclubs, maitais and daiquiris, necklaced ladies in satin gowns, misty and sexy like in a tequila ad. It is very clear that he has selected these features in the hopes to attract and impress women. The audience is given further insight into the character of Jake upon his rear-ending of a young woman, Mariana.
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He hopes that this unexpected encounter will increase the chance of fulfilling his sexual needs. This is displayed through the sexual imagery used by Gilb. In paragraph 12, Gilb describes Jake as “fondling the wide dimple” in the car and includes Jake’s thoughts about cars being “so soft they might replace waterbeds. ” The words bed and fondle definitely imply sex. These choice words draw on sexual images and reveal Jake’s sexual drive. Aside from these sexual images, Jake also shows his true womanizing character when he immediately uses this opportunity to try to pick Mariana up.
The first words out of his mouth were obvious pickup lines. “So how you doin? Any damage to the car? I was kinda hoping so, just so it takes a little more time and we can talk. Or else you can give me your phone number now and I won’t have to lay my regular b. s. on you to get it later. ” These lines are pick up lines in the sense that Jake not only hopes to be rewarded with her phone number but also with the pleasure of getting to know her on a personal level. In his efforts to do so, he tries to win her over with his wit and charm. This incident also gives the audience an understanding of how deceitful and suave Jake really is.
Upon the request of his license, he quickly concocts the following spiel; “I didn’t bring it. I just forgot it this morning. I’m a musician, and well, I dunno, I left my wallet in the pants I was wearing last night. ” In this small speech, he managed to not only convince her that he was a musician but also that he had simply forgotten his wallet. He then proceeded to give her a fake last name as well as address. He even gave the insurance information of his previous girlfriend. Mariana too is very stereotypical. It seems as if many women are portrayed as naive damsels in distress with limited knowledge.
Gilb does a very good job making Mariana fit this description. Her innocence is portrayed when she is described as shaking his hand “like she she’d never done it before in her life. ” This is also supported by the fact that she eats up all of the lies that Jake feeds her, most of which, were obviously invalid. An example of this is found in her response to his statement that not only is he a musician but he is also an actor and has stared in a few movies. Upon hearing this “She smiled like a fan. ” Her inexperience was also apparent in her “timid Call me” upon her departure.
A portion of her innocence may have a great deal to do with the fact that she is not native to the United States. Entering a city as large as L. A. can make for quite a culture shock. It is especially hard coming from a culture in which woman are placed on a pedestal to a culture where women are simply a piece of meat. It may be that she simply seen Jake as a nice guy being hospitable. Another very important aspect of Love in L. A. is the setting. This is significant because L. A. is a very fast paced and unfeeling city. The city itself is as shallow as those that reside in it.
It has the reputation for producing a number of scandalous relationships. Take the Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor for example. She has been married more times than even she can count. Another example is the former couple Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson. They too had a very tumultuous relationship with repeated abuse and adultery. In addition, the time of day and the location of the accident play a large role in the story. It is set during rush hour on a busy freeway. At his time of day people are in a hurry to reach their destination and disregard the feelings and well being of others.
It is for this reason that we see hostility, road rage, in drivers. This idea of moving at a fast pace and the lack of sensitively correlates with many romantic relationships. It is for this reason that the setting is more than just a setting. It adds to the affect of the brief, noncommittal, meaningless relationship between Jake and Mariana. It even describes the type relationship that is desired by many men including Jake. In this case, the infatuation lies not with the woman but with himself. It is the infatuation or love that Jake has for himself and even for his car that make Love in L. A. a love story. It is implied throughout the text that Jake sees himself as God’s gift to the female gender. His dream is to ride around in a car with crushed velvet interior wearing expensive cologne on his neck and a necklaced lady on his arm. Thinking that this dream is even feasible gives insight as to how full of himself he really is. Also, he shows no hesitation or fear of rejection in trying to pick up on Mariana. Any man lacking self-confidence could not have pulled off that attempt as well as he did. Jake is not the only object of Jake’s affection.
His dream car too holds an enormous piece of his heart. Although he is obviously attracted to Mariana, she is not described nearly as elaborately as his dream car. Furthermore, as he drove away his thoughts were not with Mariana, but instead they shifted back to the crushed velvet interior lining the seats of his dream car. Gilb has truly created a love story fitting to modern times. He touched on several stereotypes evident in today’s society and has altered the traditional view of love to be more realistic. The theme of the story has allowed love to be seen for what it can be, shallow and insincere.