You hate them or you love them. Either way, they seem to be dominating all different genres of Young Adult Literature today. In love triangles you have three different people. The main point or usually the main character who is torn between person A and person B. You read about a girl who can’t decide about what guy they like more, the sweet cute one or the dangerous rebellious one. Yeah, they can be annoying and repetitive, but some of them can be brilliantly written. From the Twilight series where the love triangle dominates most of the books’ plot, to The Hunger Games where it takes a backseat to the action in the book, the love triangle is a theme that is being seen more often in Young Adult Literature.
I even saw myself beginning to recognize love triangles in works I read in my English class. For example, I didn’t even hesitate to see the love triangle between Hester, Dimsdale, and Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter, nor did I fail to recognize the tension between Brett, Jake, and Mike in The Sun Also Rises. As I began to point out these love triangles in famous works of Literature, I couldn’t help but wonder if the love triangle was something that was new and creative to this century or if it was something that has always existed, but we have just recently placed a name on.
Although I can’t really say either way on my opinion on love triangles in general, I do however begin to ask myself one question: How will critics in the future view love triangles?
I ask myself if they will be seen as a new plot device that are phenomenally written? Will it go down in history along with the great plot elements like Freytag’s Pyramid? Will they been seen as a common theme in the twenty first century? Will they be seen as “fluff” writers use when they have nothing else to write about?
When asked this question, I can only come up with one answer: it depends on the author.
Some writers can write a love triangle brilliantly while others can do a poor job. I have read many novels and short stories both famous and unknown that include love triangles.
The one’s that border on cheesy and boring tend to go off on a more repetitive route where the author picks out certain qualities of the two others and constantly repeat themselves about how “so and so has nice hair” but “so and so has great eyes”. They continue to think in this mindset while it is obvious to the reader who they are going to pick in the end.
The ones that are brilliantly written are the ones that continue to find levels upon levels in a person’s personality which constantly make the decision so much harder for the main character. As soon as they begin the lean towards one person, they discover something about the other that leaves them questioning their decision, always keeping the reader on their feet.
In the end, we don’t know how future love critics will define love triangles. However I can predict that if any love triangles get recognized by future critics, they will be the ones that are brilliant written.