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51 pages 1 hour read

Elif Shafak

The Forty Rules of Love

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2009

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Themes

Love

Love is the most important theme in the novel and it appears in many forms, each bleeding into the next. The first and most fundamental love in the narrative is self-love and, in that way, self-acceptance; this is most clearly demonstrated through the way that Ella moves about the world. Downtrodden and unhappy in her daily life and in her marriage, Ella seems to be at the whims of her family and does not appear to do anything for herself. Because she does not appreciate herself and her uniqueness, and because she blames things like her husband’s string of affairs on herself, Ella is unable to appreciate those things that make her desirable until she explores the Sufi teachings she learns about in Sweet Blasphemy.

By making herself receptive to the type of love she encounters in the novel, Ella allow goes through a powerful transformation. She eventually learns to love herself, and in doing so, extends this love outside of herself. She in turn accepts her daughter’s engagement instead of viewing it as a failed attempt at love, she values herself more and ends her toxic marriage, and she falls in love with Aziz, the author of Sweet Blasphemy.

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