Love At Second Glance In theory, people make decisions about becoming involved, romantically or otherwise, with other people based upon a number of criteria with which they evaluate the qualities of the other person. In some situations an individual may consciously think about the criteria, or qualities, they are looking for in that individual and then evaluate if the person meets the criteria. In most cases however the person does not consciously think out this process, but simply “knows” if he or she likes the other person or not. In some cases, the most important criteria, at least initially, are surface type attributes, such as race, appearance, or material wealth. In addition, the individual will sometimes intuitively know that the other individual is not appropriate to start a relationship with but is overwhelmed with the surface appearance.
For all of these reasons relationships will sometimes fail since the initial evaluation can be based upon qualities that are not truly the most important for a long lasting relationship. I will try to show that based upon two characters in American Knees, their relationships failed, or at least struggled, since they had not explored the most important qualities of the other person. A second sub-thesis of this discussion relates to relationships that are chosen for individuals. For example, a mother, father, sibling would fit into this category. In these situations, the individual does not do the same type of evaluation since there is no decision needed to become involved in the relationship. However, at some point in the life of an individual they actually do recognize that a relative meets, or does not meet, the most important criteria for a long lasting relationship.
In these cases there can be anger and frustration since individuals may conclude that this person does not have the qualities you want and yet by definition they are chosen for you. I will show in Comfort Woman, that characters find-unappealing qualities in relatives, and this causes them frustration and anger, since they had no choice in establishing the relationship. There are a number of theoretical criteria that the average person uses for developing a relationship with an individual. This includes a vast array of items such as appearance, race, intelligence, friendliness, personality, humor, dedication, and overall pleasantness. In the book American Knees, there are two main characters named Raymond and Aurora, who exemplify this process.
In particular, Raymond was attracted to his first wife Darleen, as well as Aurora, based primarily upon heritage. The entire subject of race and heritage is critical to each of them. There are many complicated feelings they each have about this subject and to some degree it overshadows all of the aspects of their lives. In many ways they do not learn more about each other since the complications of race are all encompassing. It appears as if Raymond initially neglects considering other important qualities about Aurora. His first thoughts are about race, “Was she part Korean or Japanese? Maybe he was altogether wrong and she was native Alaskan, Indian or Latino.
What a relief that would be.” He is almost joking to himself here, saying that this would simplify the entire thing. It seems that he is overly concerned about this aspect. Aurora also thinks of this subject from the start. Aurora thinks, “.. hoped to god, he wasn’t an insecure Asian male who would talk only to her.” And ” ..-just Asian enough to bring home to mother..” She next thinks through about what their first conversation would entail.
She specifically thinks through questions, he will ask her, in order to determine her ancestry. Aurora was also giving significant thought in these first few moments about what she thought of him. The area that she is preoccupied with relates not only to race, but also to his physical appearance, and the garments he was wearing. She even tries to determine what part of the country he is from based upon his expensive and sophisticated clothes. During their first meeting the book describes in great detail, each of their thoughts towards the other.
Some of the thoughts were prior to any conversation, and of course some are during their conversation. It is fairly clear, that the most significant thing that each is contemplating relates to surface issues, such as ancestry, where they work, how much money they earn, or sexual appeal. This is not uncommon in many people and if these qualities are appealing this can lead to a relationship before determining if the individual has other attributes that they like. The book indicates how quickly Raymond and Aurora move their relationship along. In a short period they had moved in together and were trying to share their lives together.
It can be assumed that these two lovers did not really know each other that well. While she was aware of the emotions relating to ancestry, she was unaware to the deep extent that Raymond felt about this. He was an Asian man first, and behind that he was an American. This is quite evident, when Aurora tells Raymond, ” I just wanted you to say that I’m the center of your life and that you love me. Why does the whole world around that center always have to be something called Asian America.” Raymond is very proud to be Asian and wants to mold Aurora, who is half-white, to be the same way.
He says to her, “That to be Asian, you must be Asian at all times, not when it is convenient.” These are issues that must be dealt with before a substantive relationship can begin. Aurora is no more to blame then Raymond is for their initial breakup, but she feels it’s a lack or fault of herself. Aurora, right after their breakup speaks about the reason for the breakup, “Me being not Asian enough or not culturally sensitive enough, doesn’t make for very interesting girl talk.” There were certainly some things that they did not like about each other. For example, Aurora did not like him to instruct her and be condescending. “She hated his instructive tone.” She also did not like his inability to tell her how he really felt. She sai …