Brideshead Revisited

Love in Brideshead Revisited 12th Grade

The novel Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh, explores the meaning of love and the many incarnations it can take; love of family and friends, romantic love, and love of God. The novel follows Charles Ryder through his youth and into adulthood focusing on his relationships with Sebastian, Celia, Julia, and God. Waugh also contrasts Charles relationships with Julia with Bridey’s relationship with his wife, Beryl. Through these relationships, Waugh’s idea of the construction of love becomes apparent; we learn to love through loving and in that way the love of a parent or friend can be a precursor to romantic love. Waugh also believes love of God is the base and forerunner of all love and without it no other love can be sanctified.

Sebastian is Charles’s first love of his young life. Charles has received no love through his grisly relationship with his father, and Charles’s friends at Oxford before Sebastian are made to seem intellectual but dull. We define ourselves by our relationships to others and because Charles does not love or receive any love, that we are aware of, he is vulnerable to Sebastian’s promise of friendship and with it a sense of belonging. He truly falls in love with Sebastian when Sebastian is flipping...

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