“Even a glance can send a person into the trance that love sends a person into.”

I love the internal rhyme here—”glance” and “trance.” In fact, the whole sentence has a certain rhythm that leads the reader to expect more rhymes—Even a glance can send a person into the trance that love by chance sends a person into, like a dance? ROMANCE!

Alas, though, my student doesn’t seem to have noticed the rhyme, or else isn’t susceptible to its seductive charms.

The reader’s main question, I think, is whether the glance is sending a person into actual love, or whether we’re dealing with two stimuli—glance and love—that lead to the same response: trance.

If that’s the case, of course it explains the cloud into which so many 13-year-olds wander, not to emerge until perhaps their twenties. Glancing around, or being glanced at by others, is an almost constant activity during those years, prompted by many impulses including love, and so the trances must come so fast one upon the other that they create a perpetual trance.

But I think my student was just trying to say that love can come with a mere glance. Could the subject have been Romeo and Juliet? That’s very possible. Poor kids, trying to navigate a complex family-feud-arranged-marriage-avengeable-friend tangle while in a love-induced trance. No wonder the faked-death scheme got so screwed up: Friar Lawrence and his colleague, sworn themselves to celibacy and perhaps therefore immune to trances, couldn’t have anticipated the difficulties the two young lovers would have with what seemed to the friars a simple plan.

Who ever loved, that loved not at first…um…glance?

Well, perhaps my student was also in love, and he was writing in such a trance that he didn’t notice his sentence was also going in circles.

P.S. …As was I last week, although probably not because of a sudden romance. Only a chance meeting with a friend prevented me from arriving for my conference a week early and wondering where everybody else was. (I really should look at actual calendars once in a while.) Instead I spent the week so busy helping to get a show opened that I went ahead and took a little blog vacation. But TODAY I really am going to D.C. and won’t have computer access for a few days. Best wishes to all.

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About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

4 responses to ““Even a glance can send a person into the trance that love sends a person into.”

  • Mary Jane Schaefer

    “Whoever loved that loved not at first sight?” What a line. And I spent many many years not knowing that Shakespeare lifted it from Marlowe. Well, you can call it a “hommage” if you want, but I say the Great steal from the Great, or why bother? “Borrow?” This ain’t no borrowing. Shakespeare moved it into his house, and that’s where it’s stayed. An inspiration to all of us writers who can’t help themselves from “hommaging” now and then. “For ne’er saw I true beauty till this night.”

    • RAB

      In their day it was “inspiration” and “borrowing.” I guess the concept of royalties (except of course Elizabeth!) and copyright hadn’t been developed yet and so failing to pay the one or violating the other was impossible. Ah, if writers come, can publishers with an eye to profit be far behind?

  • Besma at Life Demiraged

    This takes me back to when I was a literature student. Now I wonder how my professors read my essays.

    • RAB

      I always read with hope and appreciate whatever I can. These screamers sometimes stand out as solitary lapses; other times, alas, they’re part of the texture. I’ve copied down whole paragraphs on a few occasions.
      You have to respect a writer who tries to say something and either overreaches or falls short. The ones you don’t have to respect are the ones who don’t seem to give a damn about the work or themselves–but luckily, there aren’t many of those.

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