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Essay “Joyas Valodoras” by Brian Doyle: Meaning of Love

In his essay Joyas Valodoras, Brian Doyle reflects on the relationship between hummingbirds and their hearts, the lives of humans, and blue whales. The work is a profound reflection on life and death and the experience that a real living being experiences in the interval between these events. The essay is a statement about the similarity of all existing on the planet.

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While reading the essay, the reader’s attention is immediately drawn to the author’s vivid images. Brian Doyle details hummingbirds’ life laws, producing this clear image of a small beating heart with a billion heartbeats. Compared to a human, the number of beats is much lesser, but the heart of a small bird beats several times faster. The author develops his idea not only with the help of accurate scientific data. He focuses on the metaphorical and metaphysical nature of his words. Doyle constructs sentences so that the reader does not focus solely on the very biological existence of the life of those or existing living descriptions. Instead, with the help of epithets and allegories, the author draws attention to what other features mean when viewed through metaphor’s prism. Literary analysis confirms the thesis that Joyas Valodoras has a symbolic and metaphorical meaning primarily. Take, for example, the phrase in one of the paragraphs: “Animals with big hearts in the world usually travel in pairs” (Doyle). It can be stated that this proposal has a scientific basis and background. Importantly, it is a metaphor for love, through which one of the primary thoughts of the text is immersed: if a person has love in their heart, he or she will never be alone.

This description of blue whale hearts is related to romantic feelings between people, and the first part of the text also refers to this metaphor. Messages and mentions indicate love and the peculiarity that we should give these feelings. It is more about a fluttering sense of passion in birds when emotions are powerful and passionate between people. Such love is short-lived for an extended period – feelings either subside completely or are reborn into something more. In this case, an analogy can be drawn with Eros – the Greek god of physical connection and passion. Like hummingbird life, emotions based on attraction alone are short-lived. Based on various metaphors and symbols, it can be concluded that the text talks about different forms of love and ways of experiencing them.

In his essay, Brian Doyle further develops the idea of love and gives his own opinion on this matter. According to the author, such “quick” love is a destructive feeling (Doyle 49). People addicted to this order tend to experience emotional excitement and emotional experiences as if the heart of a slowing hummingbird stops to rest. The line “if they don’t find something sweet soon, their hearts will cool down, and they will cease to be” actually symbolizes how people who prefer love to Eros become addicted to the concept of love and thus keep passing from one individual to the other (Doyle). The same way the hummingbird goes from flower to flower. It is impossible not to note the author’s skill and ability to accurately convey his thoughts using exquisite metaphors.

The natural essence of the whale in the essay is opposed to hummingbirds. In Joyas Valodoras, marine animals’ hearts describe a deep and strong emotional connection between people, which is primarily based on friendship and mutual understanding. When considering the meaning of the work from this perspective, the description of the whale’s heart’s size becomes not accidental. As Doyle points out, “the child could walk around in it, head high, bending only to step through the valve,” which is also not just a scientific description of the organ size of a marine mammal (Doyle). This phrase denotes a metaphor referring to the fact that only people capable of a great and pure feeling can take children into their hearts and give them love. It is a type of love that builds up over time, generating strong affection, emotion, and a desire to be with that person. Nature, the size of a whale’s heart, symbolizes strong feelings and love that build up over time, resulting in a type of relationship in which two people stay together for life.

Brian Doyle created Joyas Valodoras to discuss the most important feeling for a person – love. Describing the hearts of different living things allows readers to associate themselves with them and understand that we are all living things despite biological differences. The author expresses his opinion by pointing out that real, sincere, and deep love is much more important than fleeting feelings and rapidly fading passion. His way of communicating thoughts is undoubtedly successful and effective. Even though the main idea is veiled and not presented directly, those readers who understand the literature and can identify metaphors and allegories in the text will accurately determine the central theme and mood of the essay.


Doyle, Brian. “Joyas Voladoras”, The American Scholar. Web.

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