Modernization of Romance Elements

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Modernization of romance elements
in “Chivalry” by Neil Gaiman

In Neil Gaiman’s short story “Chivalry”, an elderly woman finds and buys the Holy Grail in a thrift shop to use it as a decorative element in her house. At the same time, a knight from the Round Table is in the quest of finding this sacred object of God. This short story contains many elements of romance, such as the religious quest, love and adventure and courtly and chivalric life. By modernizing romance, Gaiman suggests that love and loyalty are important values even in today’s society, that courtly and chivalric life are still alive in one way and that, unfortunately, religious quest is not as much valued as it used to be. Gaiman does this by using literary elements such as symbolism, allusion, characterization and irony. Love and loyalty are embraced in romance and in today most people’s lives. In “Chivalry”, Mrs. Whitaker lives by them because she’s very devoted to her late husband, Henry. When Galaad offers to Mrs. Whitaker the Apple of Life which can restore beauty and even grant eternal life, she pictures herself young, beautiful and very attractive to man. Right after this she goes to her parlor and looks at a “photograph of her late husband Henry, smiling and eating ice cream” (Gaiman, 44) and when she comes back she refuses Galaad gift because Mrs. Whitaker realizes that she had already lived her life and that she had a man who loved her to which she decides to remain loyal. Mrs. Whitaker is also a fan of Mills and Boon romance books which she buys at the thrift store and although she never manages to read them all, Mrs. Whitaker grants special importance to those books. With names such as “Her Thundering Soul”, “Her Turbulent Heart”, “Her Majestic Passion” and “Her Singular Love”, those books seem to represent the way Mrs. Whitaker feels in her life and the love that she has for her husband, and the reason why they are so appealing is because they keep those feelings of love...
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