As students, as individuals, we’ve always been told of this concept of the “survival of the fittest”, but when relating The History of Love to A Story of Survival, this concept is transformed into “survival of the motivated”. This is directly portrayed through Leopold Gursky, one of the main characters of the novel who makes his way from a little town in Poland to America surviving the Nazi invasion as a Jew.
Now the true meaning of this quote “survival of the motivated” comes in the sense that Leo goes through so many struggles to stay alive because of “her”. He “drank water from puddles, …[snuck] into potato cellars,… [and even] ate raw rats” all because of this girl Alma (Krauss 226). Even when Alma tells Leo that should could never love him, and they say their goodbyes, Leo states that he “made [himself] forget” (Krauss 226). He says he does not know why, but as readers we see the real reason is it was the only thing that motivated him to keep going, to stay alive. To know that the woman he loved was waiting for him was enough, and he lived for her; he survived for her.
When Leo comes to find out that Alma has found someone else, and that she cannot be with him, Leo struggles to find ways to cope – to survive. He starts to make his own reality so that he has something to live for, because he no longer lives for Alma. He even goes so far as reinventing a childhood friend, Bruno, through his imagination, as to keep himself alive and survive loneliness. Leo must draw attention to himself everywhere he goes, whether it be knocking over all the straws at Starbucks, or simply making a fuss trying on shoes at the store. He wants to be noticed and wants to survive life, without being so invisible, all because his old, main source of motivation, Alma, no longer is there to give him something to survive for. This is what makes The History of Love, A Story of Survival, because it’s all about how Leo copes and makes himse View More »