Reading the poem “Junior Year Abroad” by Luisa Lopez was like a flashback to a memory I did not want to recollect. It’s about a young woman living in Paris for her Junior year and breaking a promise she had once made. She left a loved one back at home and while living in Paris, met someone new and the feelings she once had for her first lover, dissipated. This old lover comes to visit her for Christmas and her attitude towards him shows change; change of personality. Her dreams defined what her mind could not establish. Those dreams were the only freedom she had to express how she felt inside a trapped memory.Order now
I spent my freshman year of college in Madrid, Spain: it was quite an experience, and in living there I met the first love of my life: Amin. He was from morocco, foreign and extremely good at the art of seduction. Instead of having a loved one come to me – went away. I went back home for Spring break and ended up meeting someone else. I didn’t fall in love, but when I got back to Madrid, I just didn’t feel it anymore. I respond to the work through my own personal experience of changes in emotions through the misconception of love.
“We were amateurs, that winter in Paris. (Lopez 59) They were amateurs at the difficult game of Love. Through that misconception that they were young and still yet amateurs, they did not really know what they were doing. I think I fell in love with Amin, but I was young, I was 18 – I didn’t know what I was talking about. I met someone else, went to a different environment and changed my mind. She did too. “The invited man snored beside me not knowing I didn’t love him anymore. ” (Lopez 59) She calls him “the invited man” meaning, she had once loved him and invited him into her life.
But her tone changes when she said that he was “beside me not knowing I didn’t love him anymore,” he doesn’t know that her feelings changed. It is very lonesome to wake up next to someone that you don’t love, anymore. Even before waking up, before laying in bed with that unwanted man, she fell asleep and dreamt: “betrayal, the snake under the evergreen, threw me into nightmares of floods and dying birds. ” (Lopez 59) That snake can symbolize sin, like offering temptation but leading to nightmares.
Mares of floods and birds facing death represent a morbidity in her tone. She almost makes the feeling of love, seem horrible and deadly. “In Paris I concede: deceiving my old lover, the one now stirring in his sleep is even more dangerous… ” (Lopez 59) She can sense the danger that will eventually come out of her, and the deception that lies inside, will awaken if she continues to be with her old lover. When realizing this danger, she mocks at the sexual glimpse of this lovers eyes, knowing that if she felt for his seduction, she would bury herself deeper in guilt.
It is the feeling of guilt that installs itself inside one who once thought they loved. Feelings change with the passage of time and she allows her old boyfriend to perceive that. When they are lying in bed, she says “when I move away and hold the sheet against myself he, sensing what this means, refuses, adamant yet polite, to traffic in the currency of my rejection. ” (Lopez 60) By simply moving away, that one act, makes him realize that there is rejection there and what was in the past stays in the past.
He didn’t continue implying himself on her – he politely stopped. Finishing her poem, the author adds a rhetorical question to allow, perhaps herself, to see what variety love brings you and that one should fight for it. “He made a journey. I offered a welcome. Why should he give me up? ” (Lopez 60) She fell for him, she offered herself to him. He went all the way to see her, so then why would he give her up? Does she want him to continue pursuing her? The author, by using a rhetorical question, allows the reader to come up with their own ending for a story such as this.
Love is really difficult to explain, and since I am so young, and so inexperienced – there is not much I can say about it. The narrator in Luisa Lopez’ “Junior Year Abroad” played the game of love and with a break in between, she was able to find what she really wanted, and it didn’t include her old lover. My response to this poem is done through a similar personal experience as the narrator and therefore, I may relate to her nostalgic and morbid thoughts during the process of change in emotion.