Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate love.
And if you're anything like me, you've most certainly been caught swooning over a literary proposal or two in your time. I mean...some of them are just so romantic! These authors have managed to bring to life the love between two characters in such a way that you can't help but fangirl over them as they achieve their happily ever after.
Today I have called in a love expert.
Since I am an awkward single bookworm I have called in the help of a very dear (and very much engaged!) friend of mine in order to judge the swoonworthiness of some of literature's sweetest and well known proposal scenes.
My friend Taylor got engaged in 2016 and will be getting married this year! I loved hearing about how magical her own proposal was and I just knew she was the right woman for the proposal-judging job.
Read on to take a peek at all five literary proposals and Taylor's thoughts...and be sure to let me know which literary proposal has you swooning in the comments!
~ From Gone With The Wind ~
Scarlett and Rhett are finally reunited after the tragic death of Scarlett’s second husband. Having vowed never to marry again (having married for wealth and safety before) Scarlett isn’t happy to find Rhett at her doorstep especially considering the antagonistic history between them. But Rhett isn’t afraid to fight for what he wants and this time what he wants is the hand of the most stubborn woman in the South.
“What’s your news?” she said with an effort, blowing her nose on his handkerchief and pushing back the hair that had begun to straggle.
“My news is this,” he answered, grinning down at her. “I still want you more than any woman I’ve ever seen and now that Frank’s gone, I thought you’d be interested to know it.”
Scarlett jerked her hands away from his grasp and sprang to her feet. “I— you are the most ill-bred man in the world, coming here at this time of all times with your filthy — I should have known you’d never change. And Frank hardly cold! If you had any decency — Will you leave this —”
“Do be quiet or you’ll have Miss Pittypat down here in a minute,” he said, not rising but reaching up and taking both her fists. “I’m afraid you miss my point.”
“Miss your point? I don’t miss anything.” She pulled against his grip. “Turn me loose and get out of here. I never heard of such bad taste. I—”
“Hush,” he said. “I am asking you to marry me. Would you be convinced if I knelt down?”
She said “Oh” breathlessly and sat down hard on the sofa. She stared at him, her mouth open, wondering if the brandy were playing tricks on her mind, remembering senselessly his jibing: “My dear, I’m not a marrying man.” She was drunk or he was crazy. But he did not look crazy. He looked as calm as though he were discussing the weather, and his smooth drawl fell on her ears with no particular emphasis.
“I always intended having you, Scarlett, since that first day I saw you at Twelve Oaks when you threw that vase and swore and proved that you weren’t a lady. I always intended having you, one way or another. But as you and Frank have made a little money, I know you’ll never be driven to me again with any interesting propositions of loans and collaterals. So I see I’ll have to marry you.”
“Rhett Butler, is this one of your vile jokes?”
“I bare my soul and you are suspicious! No, Scarlett, this is a bona fide honorable declaration. I admit that it’s not in the best of taste, coming at this time, but I have a very good excuse for my lack of breeding. I’m going away tomorrow for a long time and I fear that if I wait till I return you’ll have married some one else with a little money. So I thought, why not me and my money? Really, Scarlett, I can’t go all my life, waiting to catch you between husbands.”
I’ve only ever seen the movie and perhaps because the movie was a necessary requirement for my English class at school...but my opinion of both Rhett and Scarlett was not very high.
But this scene actually makes me want to give the book a try! I love it when the guy confidently strides into the scene and takes the woman he loves into his arms and asks her to marry him- which is almost exactly what Rhett does. Although, being the romantic that I am, I would have liked him to have been slightly more eloquent and romantic. But I can definitely see the ardour behind the careless facade he presents.
Her rating out of 5 wedding rings:
~ From Rilla of Ingleside ~
Rilla Blythe (the daughter of Anne and Gilbert) always had a lisp growing up. But the other constant besides her lisp is her not-so-acknowledged fascination with her brothers’ friend and family friend Kenneth Ford. But just as fate brings them together, war will force them apart. Will true love conquer all?
The door bell rang, Rilla turned reluctantly stairwards. She must answer it–there was no one else in the house; but she hated the idea of callers just then. She went downstairs slowly, and opened the front door.
A man in khaki was standing on the steps–a tall fellow, with dark eyes and hair, and a narrow white scar running across his brown cheek. Rilla stared at him foolishly for a moment. Who was it? She ought to know him–there was certainly something very familiar about him–
"Rilla-my-Rilla," he said.
"Ken," gasped Rilla. Of course, it was Ken–but he looked so much older–he was so much changed–that scar–the lines about his eyes and lips–her thoughts went whirling helplessly.
Ken took the uncertain hand she held out, and looked at her. The slim Rilla of four years ago had rounded out into symmetry. He had left a school girl, and he found a woman–a woman with wonderful eyes and a dented lip, and rose-bloom cheek–a woman altogether beautiful and desirable–the woman of his dreams.
"Is it Rilla-my -Rilla?" he asked, meaningly.
Emotion shook Rilla from head to foot. Joy–happiness–sorrow–fear–every passion that had wrung her heart in those four long years seemed to surge up in her soul for a moment as the deeps of being were stirred. She had tried to speak; at first voice would not come. Then–
"Yeth," said Rilla.
Awww that is the cutest thing! This is a very good example of what it means to truly love someone. He’d have come across so many other women during those four years and most of whom would not have had the lisp. Yet despite this, his heart remained completely hers. And to think that he had last seen her when she was still a girl and yet had remained loving her.
Girls have heard it over and over but you all are beautiful both inside and out and there is someone out there who will see this beauty. And when he does, he will hold you close and never let you go, despite the little flaws you may have. Trust me. I speak from experience!
Her rating out of 5 wedding rings:
~ From Jane Eyre ~
Orphaned Jane becomes a governess in the home of the brooding Mr Rochester. On upon discovering he is searching for a wife, Jane decides it is time for her to leave and find a new placement. Overwhelmed by her new discovered feelings for Mr Rochester, she is unable to contain her emotions as she confronts him about her leaving and his upcoming nuptials.
"(...)It is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal, — as we are!"
"As we are!" repeated Mr. Rochester — "so," he added, enclosing me in his arms. Gathering me to his breast, pressing his lips on my lips: "so, Jane!"
"Yes, so, sir," I rejoined: "and yet not so; for you are a married man — or as good as a married man, and wed to one inferior to you — to one with whom you have no sympathy — whom I do not believe you truly love; for I have seen and heard you sneer at her. I would scorn such a union: therefore I am better than you — let me go!"
"Where, Jane? To Ireland?"
"Yes — to Ireland. I have spoken my mind, and can go anywhere now."
"Jane, be still; don't struggle so, like a wild frantic bird that is rending its own plumage in its desperation."
"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you." Another effort set me at liberty, and I stood erect before him.
"And your will shall decide your destiny," he said: "I offer you my hand, my heart, and a share of all my possessions."
"You play a farce, which I merely laugh at."
"I ask you to pass through life at my side — to be my second self, and best earthly companion."
"For that fate you have already made your choice, and must abide by it."
"Jane, be still a few moments: you are over-excited: I will be still too."
(...) I again wept. Mr. Rochester sat quiet, looking at me gently and seriously. Some time passed before he spoke; he at last said — "Come to my side, Jane, and let us explain and understand one another."
"I will never again come to your side: I am torn away now, and cannot return."
"But, Jane, I summon you as my wife: it is you only I intend to marry."
I was silent: I thought he mocked me.
"Come, Jane — come hither."
"Your bride stands between us."
He rose, and with a stride reached me. "My bride is here," he said, again drawing me to him, "because my equal is here, and my likeness. Jane, will you marry me?"
Still I did not answer, and still I writhed myself from his grasp: for I was still incredulous.
(...)"Am I a liar in your eyes?" he asked passionately. "(...) I would not — I could not — marry Miss Ingram. You — you strange, you almost unearthly thing! — I love as my own flesh. You — poor and obscure, and small and plain as you are — I entreat to accept me as a husband."
"What, me!" I ejaculated, beginning in his earnestness — and especially in his incivility — to credit his sincerity: "me who have not a friend in the world but you — if you are my friend: not a shilling but what you have given me?"
"You, Jane, I must have you for my own — entirely my own. Will you be mine? Say yes, quickly."
To be honest, I’m not a massive fan of Mr Rochester. His proposal is alot like Mr Darcy’s first (cringe-worthy) attempt to ask Lizzy’s hand in marriage…only worse, in my humble opinion. It is definitely never a good start to a relationship, let along an engagement/marriage, to have such hidden secrets between each other.
A strong, solid foundation requires complete honesty. In becoming vulnerable with one another, you draw closer to the other and your trust in that person can blossom and grow. It is in that moment of vulnerability, when both are completely honest with each other, that both see the other as they truly are. And, anyways, wouldn’t you want to know your future-husband from cover to cover?
I do think Jane behaved quite well and admirably in this situation, calling Rochester out on his actions. She is worth quite more than how he treated her.
Her rating out of 5 wedding rings:
~ From the Anne of Green Gables series ~
This is actually the second proposal Gilbert makes to Anne. The first was rejected due to Anne feeling as though despite their friendship, that she and Gilbert would not suit. She told him that she did not love him and that they were better off as friends. Hurt, Gilbert accepted her refusal and both part ways. However, Anne grows to realise she has no idea what love really is and it isn’t the infatuation with brooding gentlemen that she’s read about in books and poetry. On a return trip home she learns that Gilbert is ill and could very well die. Struck with the heart-wrenching revelation that she in fact does love him, Anne rushes to his side. Upon his recovering Anne is afraid to bring up her newly discovered feelings but accepts Gilbert’s offer to walk with him.
"I think," said Anne softly, "that 'the land where dreams come true' is in the blue haze yonder, over that little valley."
"Have you any unfulfilled dreams, Anne?" asked Gilbert.
Something in his tone -- something she had not heard since that miserable evening in the orchard at Patty's Place -- made Anne's heart beat wildly. But she made answer lightly.
"Of course. Everybody has. It wouldn't do for us to have all our dreams fulfilled. We would be as good as dead if we had nothing left to dream about. What a delicious aroma that low-descending sun is extracting from the asters and ferns. I wish we could see perfumes as well as smell them. I'm sure they would be very beautiful."
Gilbert was not to be thus sidetracked. "I have a dream," he said slowly. "I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends -- and YOU!"
Anne wanted to speak but she could find no words. Happiness was breaking over her like a wave. It almost frightened her.
"I asked you a question over two years ago, Anne. If I ask it again today will you give me a different answer?"
Still Anne could not speak. But she lifted her eyes, shining with all the love-rapture of countless generations, and looked into his for a moment. He wanted no other answer.
*fangirl screaming* This is soooooo, so, so cute!!!!! Love is more than mere fluttery feels and beating hearts. Love is something that endures through all ages. Love is choosing to put the others before all else. Love is to pursue that which is most worthy, without feeling overwhelmed by obstacles. Love is what Anne and Gilbert have for one another. This love is real and it exists.
Her rating out of 5 wedding rings:
~ From the MissMatch series ~
Ryan and Lauren have been rubbing along fine as friends, with Lauren far too busy with her matchmaking mischief to ever worry about finding Mr Right for herself. But when she finally becomes Ryan’s girlfriend she discovers that being on the other side of the matchmaking isn’t as fun as it looks! Suddenly everybody wants them to get to the altar so Ryan and Lauren decide to fake a break up to get everyone off their backs. But even a fake break up isn’t enough to break the bond and growing love these two share. So it’s back together again…but is there a sparkly ring in Lauren’s future after all?
I rip into the package and pull out the plastic tray. Neatly lined chocolate cookies parade around a black box right in the center.
I roll my eyes, laughing. “This is so corny.”
“Hey, you’re the chocolate freak.”
I pick up the box, swallowing, opening it slowly.
Ryan grins at me, still on one knee.
His eyes get huge with horror and his mouth falls open. “What?” he gasps. My stomach drops. I show him the empty box, hand shaking.
“It’s not here.”
He stares at me wide-eyed for a full minute. Then he grins teasingly. “Good thing I kept it in my pocket.”
I narrow my eyes at him. “You’re asking for one heck of a marriage with a proposal like this.”
“What can I say? I like challenges.”
I laugh. He scoots closer, reaching for my and. “You haven’t answered my question.”
“What question?” I smile.
“Will you marry me?” he asks quietly, all traces of a smile gone.
I look down at him, noting the jeans, the flannel, the curling, out-of-control hair. He looks at me warmly, and I smile. Ryan couldn’t have proposed in a nice restaurant or dressed up in a tux. This is Ryan just as he is.
I squeeze his hand. “Yes.”
I laugh and – what is this? – tears start building in my eyes. He grins, his little-kid smile blooming hugely.
I LOVE THIS!!!! I CAN’T EVEN!!!! AAAHHH I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK! IT’S SO PERFECT AND REAL AND CUTE!! Ryan is legit the best guy character EVER.
This is such a good, cute proposal. The characters are so real. They have their flaws and their shortcomings. And not everything is so happy and chirpy for this couple. They face the same challenges and obstacles that pretty much every person/couple faces. But they get through it. Not because it’s a story but because they work together and love each other. I love it!
Her rating out of 5 wedding rings:
A big thank you to Taylor for taking the time to fangirl over literary proposals with me!
What was your favourite scene? Which literary couple do you think is #relationshipgoals? Let me know your picks in the comments below!