Love You Forever Book Analysis By: Matthew Strong Love You Forever is a classic heart-warming story by Robert Munsch built around a simple, but eternally meaningful commitment from a mother to a child to love him forever. Robert Munsch has become a world-renowned author of children’s books for his unique use of exaggerated expressions that produce sounds that are very appealing and fun for children. In Love You Forever Munsch uses words like “crazy” and “zoo” to add the effect of comedy but the overall theme of the story strikes chords that are much deeper than exaggerated expressions (Munsch np).
Robert Munsch started Love you Forever as a song: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be” after he and his wife had two stillborn babies (Munsch, “The Books: Love You Forever”). However, the story surrounding the song was not developed until sometime later. Understanding where Munsch is coming from while writing Love You Forever really emphasizes the meaning of unconditional love that is so prevalent within the story, as well as, highlights the underling theme of gender stereotypes. The love that a parent has for their child is an unrestricted love that never wavers.
Love You Forever presents the unconditional love that parents are expected to have for their children, despite all the mistakes they may make. In the story, when the boy pulled all the food out of the refrigerator and flushed his mothers watch down the toilet Munsch displays the mothers frustration with “this kid is driving me crazy” (Munsch np). Yet, despite the mothers obvious irritation she continually crawls into the boys room every night to pick him up and rock him back and forth while she sings “ I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be” (Munsch np).
In many cases this unconditional parental love is the first and most important love a person will ever receive in their lifetime. In the future when developing relationships a person is able to recognize and respond to the love shown by others because of the understanding of love that was first introduced by their parents. As a person progresses from a child into an adult the understanding of the meaning of love helps them comprehend the importance of reciprocating love and compassion towards others.
Munsch does a wonderful job of displaying the young boys progression through the different stages in life. And even though there is no initial indication that the boy reciprocates the love given to him by his mother when he was young. It becomes very clear that as an adult he understands the importance of reciprocating love when his mother becomes elderly and sick, and he returns the love she has unconditionally shown him by picking her up and rocking her back and forth while singing their song (Munsch np).
Munsch shows how the reciprocation of love is crucial in allowing love to continue to exist when the man returns home to his newborn daughter and sings the same song that his mother sang to him (Munsch np). The original relationship developed by Munsch in Love You Forever is between the mother and son. Coincidently this relationship closely follows the stereotype predominately set in place by society. Society often sees women as more affectionate and nurturing than their counterpart gender, which widely leads to the assumption that women are naturally better suited for the process of raising a child.
This stereotype is made obvious essentially through the entire story as neither Munsch nor the illustrator, Sheila McGraw; make any indication that the father of the boy is playing a substantial role with the mother in his upbringing. However, at the end of the story this stereotype is completely contrasted following the passing of the mother. When the boy, who is now a grown man and father, returns home to his newborn daughter it is he who displays a nurturing and affectionate relationship between a father and his daughter.
This role reversal developed by Munsch effectively casts aside the stereotype that women are better suited to raise a child, and demonstrates that affection and the ability to nurture are not qualities that are able to be defined by a persons gender. Munsch instead shows how these qualities are learned by a person and are displayed as they mature with age. Munsch effectively represents this progression though maturity when showing, the love the boy has for his mother is not absent during his childhood, but simply something he does not display as well as he does when he becomes an adult.
Love You Forever is a wonderfully constructed story that can be enjoyed by adults and children of all ages. Although the comprehension of all the concepts within the story may not be extracted by the majority of the children, the tuneless song of “ I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be” is fun for young children to sing along to (Munsch, “The Books: Love You Forever”). Munsch uses Love You Forever to address some very basic yet very powerful concepts.
Love You Forever shows the existence of unconditional love and how important of a role the reciprocation of love plays in the development of future relationships. Furthermore, Munsch addresses the underling theme of stereotypes towards gender roles in the upbringing of a child by completely contrasting the stereotype, effectively displaying how irrelevant of a role gender plays in the ability to show affection and nurture a child. Instead it is shown that these qualities are learned by a person and are displayed as they mature with age.
Love You Forever is known to raise a lot of emotion in its readers, but it is Love You Forever’s ability to connect readers to powerful heartfelt concepts that has ultimately made it a children’s book classic. Works Cited Munsch, Robert. Illus. Sheila McGraw. Love You Forever. Willowdale. Firefly Books Ltd. 1986. Print Munsch, Robert. The Books: Love You Forever. Official Robert Munsch Website. Barking Dogs Studios. n. d. n. d. 2012. Web. 12 October 2012