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Love In La Essay

Several possible themes emerge from Gilb's story "Love in L.A."; however, one is certainly dominant:  the most prominent form of love in the big city is love of self."  This story is a twist on traditional love stories, as it primarily depicts a man in love with himself--and his car. 

Jake is consumed with himself and with gaining more pleasure for himself.  His first obsession is with his car, and this is what he wants:   

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Several possible themes emerge from Gilb's story "Love in L.A."; however, one is certainly dominant:  the most prominent form of love in the big city is love of self."  This story is a twist on traditional love stories, as it primarily depicts a man in love with himself--and his car. 

Jake is consumed with himself and with gaining more pleasure for himself.  His first obsession is with his car, and this is what he wants:   

He needed an FM stereo in something better than this ’58 Buick he drove.  It would have crushed velvet interior with electric controls for the L.A. summer, a nice warm heater and defroster for the winter drives at the beach, a cruise control for those long trips, mellow speakers front and rear of course, windows that hum closed, snuffing out that nasty exterior noise of freeways.  The fact was that he’d probably have to change his whole style.  Exotic colognes, plush, dark nightclubs, mai tais and daiquiris, necklaced ladies in satin gowns, misty and sexy like in a tequila ad.

He wants much more than he has, and he wants it in order to help him "get" more women.  He clearly sees himself as a ladies' man and uses every opportunity to collect them.  The main incident in this story is a minor car accident during, of course, rush-hour traffic in L.A.  Jake uses even this opportunity to make his moves.  As he gets out of the car, he doesn't ask if the young woman is okay; instead, he asks, "So, how you doin?" and follows with the remark that he "kinda" hopes she's not quite all right so he can talk with her longer. 

This is the consistent attitude and behavior throughout the story--a desire for "love" at the most shallow and self-serving level. Thus the theme. 

Love And Selfishness In Love In L.A. By Dagoberto Gilb

Love and Selfishness in Love in L.A. by Dagoberto Gilb


"Love in L.A.," written by Dagoberto Gilb, is a story full of irony and multiple themes. The story is set in Hollywood during the summer time. Written in third person objective, "Love in L.A." guides the reader along through the story as opposed to an omniscient point of view.

          The story begins with Jake driving on the freeway. He is so enraptured by his daydream of better possibilities that he ends up smacking the car ahead of him. Jake considers driving away but instead he stops and finds out that the owner of the Toyota he hit was a beautiful girl. From there, Jake switches into his smooth talker role with Mariana. Jake then tries to con her by saying he doesn't have any insurance and assures her that he will pay for it. As he drives away, he sees Mariana behind him writing down the license plate numbers that he stole from another car.

          The main characters in this story are Jake and Mariana. Jake is a stagnant and flat character. Throughout the story, he shows himself as a somewhat lazy and rather overly conceited kind of guy. When Gilb describes how Jake, "considered driving past the Toyota." and how, "he considered giving a real phone number but went against that idea and made one up," it gives the reader a sense of how sleazy Jake is. In the end, he has not changed but yet seems even worse and more like a con artist. Mariana is more of an enigma then Jake since the author does not go into great detail about her, there is little characterization to go on. Generally, Mariana is a stagnant character because she is a normal girl with the same suspicious tendencies as most other human beings.

          "Love in L.A." contains many symbols and multiple themes. One of the more obvious themes in this story comes at the beginning. From the very first, Jake describes his "dream" car. "He needed an FM radioIt would have crushed velvet interior with electric controlexotic colognes" all of these contribute to the theme of selfishness and greed. He does not need an FM radio but rather wants one. Everything he wants contributes to his rapaciousness.

          The most prevalent theme in this story is loneliness. Jake is obviously lonely, so much so that he stoops to such pathetic lines as, "I'm kinda hoping so, just so it takes a little more time and we can talk some. Or else you can give me your phone number now and I won't have to lay my regular b.s. on you to get it later." His loneliness also shows when Gilb describes how, "her hand felt so warm and soft he felt like he'd been kissed." Jake seems to crave the human intimacy of love, and yet all he does is flirt with a woman whom he does not even care for enough to be truthful to. This is also situational irony. Corresponding with this theme of loneliness is the concept that everyone is looking for love. This need is very evident in Jake and is also displayed in Mariana. No intelligent female would even...

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