This story is about a girl named Mabel who tries to commit suicide by drowningherself in a pond. A young doctor, Joe Ferguson, saves her. She then believesthat he loves her. Although this idea never occurred to Joe, he begins to findthat he indeed loves her. However, Mabel thinks she is “too awful” tobe loved, and finds that when Joe declares over and over that he wants her andthat he loves her, she is more scared about that than of Joe not wanting her. Sodoes Joe really love Mabel? Somehow, he is convinced that he is.
I don’t thinkthe idea of love or marriage ever occurred to him. When Mabel finds out that hesaved her, she convinces herself that he loves her. “Do you love me,then?” she asks him. Then, more confidently, she says, “You love me. Iknow you love me, I know.” The reason why I think she committed suicide isbecause she felt unloved at her home. Her father had recently died and herbrothers were unkind to her.
The father had left the family in debt, and thefamily will soon have to leave their house and move somewhere else. When askedwhich path she would pursue, she did not answer. I don’t think she had anythingplanned. She probably didn’t have a good education so there were few options forher.
Perhaps she felt overwhelmed with the pressure to decide what to do, anddecided to commit suicide. Thus, when Joe Ferguson saves her, her hope in lifeis renewed and she convinces herself that Joe loves her. So why does Joeconvince himself that he loves Mabel? Perhaps he has never felt love before. Hedidn’t want to at first, thinking it unprofessional, as he was a doctor, andshe, his patient. No doubt he has spent much of his time on studies rather thangirls. When they embrace, he feels he can never let go; until he smells”the horrid stagnant smell of that water” from the pond.
Both seem tostop and draw away from each other. Mabel had a wild, doubtful look about her;Joe could not interpret it. One reason he may have convinced himself that heloved her is because he did not like that look and wanted to stop it. “Youlove me?” she asks.
He replies,”Yes.” When Joe leaves to go backto the surgery, he kisses her “with his heart’s painful kiss.” But shebreaks down sobbing about how she is so awful. Joe tries to convince her that heloves her and wants to marry her. She is not convinced. “I feel awful. Ifeel I’m horrible to you.
” “No, I want you, I want you.” he sayswith a strange intonation. This makes her even more scared. She realizes thenthat she really does not love him. I believe this story is about two people withlow self-esteem. They both need love and convince themselves to love the other.
I do not believe this to be real love, because it did not last, and one cannotconvince themselves to fall in love with another. I felt disenchanted afterreading this story. It was a bit sad, seeing two people who need love but cannotfind it even from each other. I wanted to find out who it was that had misledthemselves into thinking they were in love.
I believe that both Mabel and Joeare guilty of this.