‘…everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers.’
THEMES – MATERIALISM / CONSUMERISM / DEHUMANIZATION / VANITY / NATURE VS MAN / NATURE VS NURTURE
The professor’s daughter’s understanding of love is twisted. Her views contrast with the nightingale’s, who speaks of sacrifice and offers herself willingly for the love of the student. The girl made a promise to the student. But when he presented the rose, she breaks her promise without any qualms (guilt), and quite rudely rejects the student. This shows the reader that she lacks integrity and that her word does not stand. She will always keep moving from one material possession to the next. For her, the ideal lover is not measured by his character or his love for her. Her judgment is based upon the profitability of the partner she selects. The human qualities of her lover are irrelevant to her. What she desires is the material possessions that her partner possesses. This reveals the deprecation of humanity and the shallowness of the girl. It also reveals her inability to appreciate the beauty of a flower because she is distanced from the natural world and is obsessed about the material world.
The quotation also exposes how the sacrifice of the nightingale is reduced to nothing in front of materialistic individuals who cannot understand the value of such love. On the other hand, it stands as a warning or perhaps a desperate cry about how the world we live in is not ready for such idealistic love. The world seems to be more concerned about the ‘cost’ or ‘value’ of objects as well as humans.