I could still recall that when I was still a little child I would always admire the hero and heroine eloping together from their unreasoning families. I was filled with the admiration for their bravery to challenge the social ideas and defend their romantic love. Such stories always end up with”They lived happily together ever after” in my naive mind. However, after reading My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather and Shangshi by Lu Xun, I started to reflect on the real sense of elopement. Generally speaking, two lovers elope as a result of their fervent love being objected by their families or the society.
The lovers believe by running away from their familiar acquaintances, they would be able to start a happy life on the basis of their love. They so believe in the strength of love that they are not afraid of the obstacles coming in their way after their elopement. What they sometimes fail to see is that love may fade away by the erosion of life. There is no denying that some love may last for a long time which in deed supports the couple through hard times. But in real life, love can be quite vulnerable. When making the decision to elope, the two lovers are quite possibly in an emotional state.
They tend to underestimate many things in their life. Money, for instance, is of the greatest importance. Since they go against their family, they cut off the economic connection with their families and have to rely on themselves. Being young and inexperienced, the couples always find themselves short of money just like the situation in Shangshi. Shortage of money often leads to many trivial problems which may end up a serious problem. These problems test and erode the strength of their love. This lead to the second factor—-love itself. Love is like nothing else. It involves two hearts.
Once one heart lost love, this relationship is in question. What will be left when love is gone? What will hold the two together when the glue no longer exists? A feeling of aching void as well as regret will find its way into the lover’s heart. Though conflicts are quite common even in marriage, they tend be more intense in the case of elopement because they place too much expectation on the life after their elopement. The greater the expectations, the greater the disappointment. Thus the crack between the lovers is harder to heal. Furthermore, there are personal factors to consider. Take one’s social network as an example.
In Shangshi, the narrator’s connection with his acquaintances was reduced. Also in Anna Karenina, both sides lost many of their social connections. For personal development, it would be of great sacrifice. So when love disappears, lovers will reestimate the importance of themselves and their partner. So in the end when Myra was dying, it was not difficult to understand why she regarded her husband as her mortal enemy. It was because of the unpredictable life and all things beyond our control. There is a huge price to pay once lovers choose to elope. And once the determination is made, they have to be fully prepared.