How “First Love” is Represented by Different Artists
First love is represented in different ways by different artists in
their writings according to their own experiences. Different artists experience
different things when they are growing up and their first loves are not always
the opposite sex. Some felt the love from their parents was the most important,
when they were young, others felt the love of their lovers was the most
important. But no matter who the other person or persons were that influenced
the artist as their first love, all of the artists’ first loves were equally
important. First loves are important to most artists, no matter how, when or who.
How first loves impacted the artists play a significant role in
determining the lives of the artists and their topics of writing. In Robert
Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays,” Hayden writes about his father and the
abandonment his family showed him even though he worked so hard to provide for
them. Hayden writes, “?cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday blaze.
No one ever thanked him” (590). Most artists observe the fact that they did not
know of their first loves and do not realize their mistakes with their first
loves until they are grown up and are writing about it. It probably provides
them with a good topic to start writing about in the first place. The lack of
realization seems to be a powerful motivator in the lives of these artists. All
of the artists in the readings seem to have gone through a period of lack of
realization before wising up to what their experiences with their first loves
meant. They probably did not know that their first loves were their first loves
until later in their lives. In the case of Robert Hayden and Theodore Roethke,
it took them their whole adolescent years to realize who their first loves were.
But no matter how long or how they realized it, most of the artists were
impacted greatly by their first loves or they would not devote their writing to
When artists realize their first loves differs greatly also. Some
realize very quickly who, or what their first loves are, and some do not realize
for a very long time. In A.E. Houseman’s “When I Was One and Twenty,” Houseman
writes about his ignorance toward his first love. He writes about how ignorant
he was toward the whole situation and how relatively quickly he realized that he
should not have been overwhelmed by the whole experience. Houseman writes, “Give
crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away?.But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me?.And I am two-and-twenty, And oh, ?tis true, ?tis true”
(751). Houseman realizes only a year after his relationship what he went through
and what impact the relationship had on his life. Other artists do not realize
that soon what their first loves meant to them and what roles they played in
their lives. Theodore Roethke writes, “At every step you missed, My right ear
scraped a buckle” (758). This means that Roethke was very young to have been
experiencing this and unless he was a child when he wrote “My Papa’s Waltz,” he
did not realize his first love until he was much older. Some artists realize
very early their first loves and some take a long time, but the point is that
they all realize it sometime.
Not all artists’ first loves were people. Nikki Giovanni’s “Nikki-Rosa”
is a piece that illustrates the fact that first loves are not always people.
Giovanni’s first love is her lifestyle as a child, and she does not realize what
she has or had, until she grows up. Giovanni writes, “?all the while I was quite
happy” (613). She writes that even though she seemed to not have the things that
the people that seemed to have the most happiness had, she was quite happy with
her first love, her childhood. Some other artists’ first loves were their first
girlfriend or maybe just one of their first girlfriends, and others’ first loves
were their father or maybe their mothers. In the case of Roethke and Hayden,
they realized much later in life that their fathers were their first loves and
not their wives or girlfriends or what ever the case may be. Not all first loves
are of the opposite sex, some are not even of the physical realm, but they all
mean just the same to the individual who encounters them.
Artists first loves all seem to be important to their lives, no matter
when they encounter them, how they encounter them, or who or what they are. An
artists’ opinion on what a first love is differs greatly and they all write
about them in a different context. But they all end their relationships with
their first loves with the same outcome: a love for the person or thing that
influenced them, and the ability to realize their first love and learn from it.
And all of the artists’ first loves are represented in a loving way, with the
love being shown in a positive light, as well as the writer showing his learning
from the experience.