Love is an emotion that everyone aspires to genuinely feel at least once in their life. Although it is important to note that there are different 8 types of love. These types of love vary from erotic love to self-love. In today’s society, what many people search for is romantic love. This involves strong connections between two people whether it may be emotionally or sexually. Nonetheless, there is much debate on whether not romantic love may be the most powerful form of love. In the novel The Year of the Flood, friendship seems to be the highest form of love. As readers, we can observe this from both main characters: Toby and Ren.
In regards to Toby, her primary friendships are Rebecca and Pilar. Toby and Rebecca used to be coworkers for the suspicious fast food joint, SecretBurgers. Toby had fallen prey to her abusive boss, Blanco. With much love and care for Toby, Rebecca had sent her religious group, God’s Gardeners to rescue her. (43) From that moment on, Toby had found a place of refuge. As for Pilar, Toby saw her as a mentor but as a friend as well. The duo had teamed up and formed the holistic dream team. Pilar had become a place of comfort and stability for Toby. Upon learning about Pilar’s limited time left, Toby decided to visit Pilar one last time “Pilar looked so wan, so depleted. She recognized fear in herself: what if Pilar – who’d always seemed eternal, who’d surely always been there, or if not always, at least for a very long time, like a boulder or an ancient stump – what if she were to suddenly vanish?” (170) In Toby’s case, the love from the people in her life was limited. Her mother had fallen ill when Toby was young and she experienced the aftermath of her father’s suicide. Additionally, Blanco showed her control not love. Subsequently, the only genuine form of love she received was from her friends Rebecca and Pilar.
As for Ren, her main support system throughout The Year of the Flood is Amanda. From the beginning, Ren felt like an outsider coming from the Compounds. Amanda was a floater from the droughts in Texas. The two girls bonded on their feelings of exclusion. Throughout the book, Ren talks vividly about their relationship: “Having Amanda living with me was like having a sister, only better.” (83) Ren also contrasts her relationship with Amanda with her previous friend Bernice: “Nothing could change the way things were, which was that Bernice and I had once been best friends and we weren’t any longer. That made me uneasy when I was around her: I felt guilty in some way. Bernice was aware of this, and she’d try to find ways to twist my guilt around and turn it against Amanda.” (136) With that being said, it is important to understand the bond of friendship. According to Psychology Today, there are many reasons a friendship would be stronger than others. Self-disclosure, intimacy, and self-identity are factors in creating strong relationships. As readers, these are all elements that Toby and Ren participate in with their counterparts.
How meaningful are your relationships?
Karbo, Karen. “Friendship: The Law of Attraction.” https://www.psychologytoday.com. N.p., 01 Nov. 2016. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.
Atwood, Margaret Eleanor. The year of the flood. London: Virago, 2014. Print.