Maya Angelou’s “Alone” speaks to the difficulties for all of us if we lack friends. All of us need support in this hard-hearted world. Nobody can make it by themselves. A friend, for her, would be a soul mate, a close companion who buffers you and strengthens you when water parches and bread hardens. The poem raises several other points about friends.
Édouard Manet’s painting, “Luncheon on the Grass” (Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe), shows two gentlemen reclining in comfort in a glade, munching and chatting amiably as good friends do. They are enjoying themselves. Jarringly a nude woman sits beside them and another splashes in a pool a bit behind them. The two men appear oblivious to them, so let’s consider this surreal picnic scene for how it suggests several points about friendships.
A movie about the reunion weekend of a group of seven friends, fraught with revelations, reevaluations, joy and pain. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, The Big Chill stars Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, and JoBeth Williams. The movie highlights core aspects of friendship.
“You’ve Got a Friend,” written by Carol King and made famous by the singing of James Taylor, describes with everyday language how good friends respond immediately when they are needed. If your predicament aches for some lovin’ care, soon you will be nursed and revived if you have a stalwart, reliable friend. What else does this song suggest about friendships?
Here it is, sung by an older James Taylor.
The preceding sections cover multiple aspects of Friends elicited from four works of art: Édouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, a poem by Maya Angelou, Alone, James Taylor’s ballad about full-bore friendship, and a movie reunion of young adults. Here are additional thoughts about the theme of Friends that don’t associate closely with any of those works.