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Oh, Brother!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I don't quite know what to make of this ad.  On the one hand, it's very loving and romantic, but on the other hand, the ending sort of makes it a little...weird.

 Marguerite - I give to you my whole future; I will live for you and you only; my greatest happiness in life will be to please you.  I hope you sometimes think of the good advice I have often give you.  Forever and ever your devoted Brother.

I really don't quite know what to make of this.  When I started reading this, of course, I was all misty-eyed and touched.  I mean, that's devotion, that is.  I give to you my whole future?  I will live for you and you only? My greatest happiness in life will be to please you?  Wow.  I wish I had someone saying stuff like that to me.

(Actually, maybe not.  It's a bit overboard.)

But then it's signed "Brother."  Anyone besides me find that just really, really creepy?  I suppose it's possible that "Brother" is not really Marguerite's brother.  Maybe that's his last name?  Or just a nickname he has for some obscure reason?  Maybe he's like a stepbrother (still creepy, but I guess slightly more palatable)?  Don't get me wrong, I'm all about loving your siblings.  Nothing wrong with that.  But somehow a brother loving his sister this much just feels so, so wrong.

I recognize that back in the day, people expressed themselves with much more emotion and high-falutin' language.  It's pre-Freudian, so none of that weird obsessions with mothers and sons and whatnot.   I also don't actually think there's anything gross and incestuous going on here.  You know, maybe they're just really close and she's going through some bad times.  Possibly he did or said something really horrible and mean to her and she ran away - thus the need for the personal - and now he's feeling terrible and contrite and wants her to come home.  Possibly with some Quentin and Caddy dynamic thrown in?  But it's still just...so creepy.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein

5 comments:

Sheena January 11, 2010 at 7:14 PM  

My least disturbing perspective is that they were both members of a Christian church which addressed its participants as brothers and sisters in Christ. I think some of the evangelical churches as well as possibly the Quakers did that.

Pam January 11, 2010 at 9:33 PM  

Sheena - that's a good possibility. But it just seems so passionate - Quakers, for example, always seemed so reserved. And you would expect a "God bless you" thrown in as well. But I like it better than the dirty stuff I came up with! ;)

Elizabeth January 12, 2010 at 9:59 PM  

I thought the same thing with the church, only that HE could perhaps be someone involved in a church and she was a woman he loved. Since priests and nuns etc. aren't allowed to marry that could be why he commicates through the personals.

Bookworm Hienrichs January 14, 2010 at 8:58 AM  

In ancient Egyptian poetry, lovers often referred to each other as brother and sister. Maybe they were ancient history buffs?

Best I can come up with, anyway.

Pam January 14, 2010 at 9:17 AM  

Still creepy!!

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