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Understanding LovePhilosophy, Film, and Fiction$
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Susan Wolf and Christopher Grau

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195384512

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384512.001.0001

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The Untold Want of Now, Voyager

The Untold Want of Now, Voyager

(p.61) 3 The Untold Want of Now, Voyager
Understanding Love

Maria DiBattista

Oxford University Press

"Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars." These emotionally extravagant words bring to a close one of the most romantic melodramas in American film. This essay explores what it means to speak of love in such elevated terms, especially what it means for the film’s heroine, Charlotte Vale (a fearless Bette Davis), a young woman whose dream of love has been blighted by the blind, repressive dictates of her demon mother. Charlotte’s liberation is figured and experienced as a metamorphosis that makes her appear a Stranger both to others and to herself. Does Charlotte’s vision of love represent a sublime idea or the late-flowering dream of the "sentimental old fool" who earlier had shed tears of gratitude because a man had called her darling? Now, Voyager explores both these possibilities and finds them compatible, even necessary for each other.

Keywords:   Romantic melodrama, Sentimental old fool, Bette Davis, Demon mother, Stranger, Now, Voyager

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