Wong Hoi Ting, Anna (152033)
ENG 101 Section 2
Dr. Stephen Weninger
17th December, 2015
Does Harold Really Love Maude?
Have one ever imagine that he will fall in love with a woman who is sixty years old older than him? In the movie "Harold and Maude" directed by Hal Ashby in 1971, a twenty years old, fascinated with death and rich boy Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral. Although some people think that Harold does not really love Maude in a romantic way as he only considers Maude as a tool to rebel against his mom\'s ruthless treat towards him. I, however, disagree with this and I think Harold does love Maude in a romantic way. Why does Harold in love with Maude? There are two reasons proving that Harold does love Maude regarding the actions and characters of Harold.
The reason why Harold loves Maude is attributed to an immediate cause which is the fact that Maude can understand Harold more than his mom. Unlike Harold\'s parents\' repressive generation, Maude\'s wisdom and insight enable her to emotionally connect with Harold. Since many people including Harold\'s mother, his uncle and the psychiatrist want Harold to live a lifestyle like theirs, his mother and uncle even try to institutionalize him—if not in marriage then in the Army which are anathema to Harold. Harold\'s superficial mother completely unawares of his true unhappiness, Harold endlessly stages fake suicide to gain more attentions from her and reacts to his mother\'s domineering ways. Largely ignored by her, yet, Harold lacks self-esteem. One day Harold meets Maude who also obsessed with death at a funeral. Maude emphasizes "And if you wanna be you, be you!" This shows Harold falls in love with her despite their age differences as Maude is the first one who comprehends him and accepts his action of committing suicide while his mom is the opposite compared to Maude.
While various authority figures are pulling Harold in different conventional directions in how he should live his life, Maude gives him a new unconventional direction that made him feels comfortable. Maude can understand what he thinks while his mother, uncle and even the psychiatrist cannot. The unconventional direction frees Harold from rules and allows him to enjoy a new-found freedom. He is impressed by the youthful mind of her and enjoys being with her. He has actually ignored the idea of his mom and uncle by hanging out with Maude and thus having a romantic relation with Maude is not a tool for his rebellious and he really loves Maude.
The second reason is more remote and much less obvious to a casual observer. Harold falls in love with Maude because she opens a new outlook and sparks out a new love for life in Harold. Unlike Harold, Maude is very much in love with life and she is fond of attending funeral as she is interested in changes and the possibilities of rebirth. Maude teaches Harold many things, including the circular nature of life, her upbeat view of life such as life is very much worth living even with all the problems in the world, Harold should do things he enjoys and not to conform or let the world judge him too much. Maude states "some people do enjoy it, but they are just backing away from life. LIVE!" when Harold tells her he enjoys being dead. This shows Maude encourages Harold to stop committing suicide and learn to love his life with a positive attitude. Maude also teaches him to dance and play the banjo so that Harold can enjoy his life more instead of live in sorrow. The influence of Maude on Harold which brings him out of his shell is so great that he falls in love with her and fantasize that she wants to marry him just as he does.
There are two reasons proving that Harold really loves Maude. The first one is that Maude has a better understanding of Harold when compared to his mom and the second one is that Maude changes Harold\'s life and makes his thoughts be more positive.
Works Cited
Harold and Maude. Dir. Hal Ashby. Perf. Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort. Paramount Pictures, 1971. Film.