Welcome to Day 12 of the A to Z Challenge. For this year’s challenge, I’ll be examining different types of characters that can be found in international fiction. Today I’m looking at lonely lovers.
Lonely lovers are characters who want love, but are alone. Unlike forlorn friends, these characters at times don’t have an object of their affection. They simply desire someone to enter their world of isolation.
These characters tend to share the same internal conflict: a desire to be loved and a fear of intimacy.
Many lonely lovers appear to be okay at the beginning of their story. Shrek in Shrek is happy on his marsh. Hisashi Uehara in Good Morning Call seems content to reject the many girls at his high school who idolize him and offer him gifts. El Chivo in Amores Perros seems happy wandering around performing hits and caring for dogs.
When the character’s desire for love isn’t obvious, it’s often revealed upon encountering another character. It’s clear Shrek doesn’t really want to be alone when he gets to know Fiona. Hisashi’s desire for companionship is revealed after spending time with Nao Yoshikawa. El Chivo’s desire for love is shown as he cries over a picture of his daughter.
Despite the desire for love, these characters struggle with what intimacy means. Kya from Where the Crawdads Sing is an example. She watches a boy who comes to her marsh from a distance longing to interact, but afraid of both exposure and rejection. El Chivo sneaks into his daughter’s house because he’s afraid to face her. Instead of trying to get in contact with her, he leaves money and pastes his face over the face of her step-father in a picture in her home.
Lovely lovers can be the stars of romantic comedies and dramas, but also appear in other genres as well. Other examples of lonely lovers are Umine in Switched (宇宙を駆けるよ), Tsukasa Domyoji in Boys Before Flowers (花より男女) and Sera Ojiro in Love Shuffle (ラブシャッフル).
Are there any other common characteristics you’ve seen in lonely lovers?