39 pages 1 hour read

bell hooks

All about Love: Love Song to the Nation Book 1

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2000

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Chapters 2-4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 2 Summary: “Justice: Childhood Love Lessons”

In Chapter 2, hooks examines how love, or lack of love, in childhood affects people in adulthood. She refers to the family environments in which people grow up as “the original school of love” (17). How an adult perceives and experiences love depends heavily on what they were conditioned to accept as a child. hooks explains that many children, like herself, grow up in dysfunctional families, a reality that ultimately hinders their ability to know how to love and be loved, even well into adulthood. She describes suffering physical beatings by her parents and being told they were “for [her] own good”; other times, she was told, “I’m doing this because I love you”—an incredibly confusing statement in the context of physical abuse (17).

On the other hand, there are children who are given ample love and attention, having all their needs met, and grow up in environments where love is not necessarily about giving but is instead “mostly something given to them” (18). hooks argues these children can grow up to be “just as unclear about love’s meaning as their neglected and emotionally abandoned counterparts” (18).

In commenting on the shocking number of children who each year are physically and emotionally abused, starved, and sometimes even murdered, she comments, “There can be no love without justice” (19).