Ibi Aanu Zoboi's The Harem

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Ibi Aanu Zoboi’s short story, “The Harem,” revolves around the Haitian earthquake of 2010 and depicts Robby, a man who is addicted to the qualities that his three lovers provide him. As each lover provides Robby with a different quality (i.e., Caroline: independence, Tanya: motherly love, nurturing, Minouche: emotional intensity), Robby struggles to cope with the death of two of his three lovers, Tanya and Minouche. Therefore, Robby shows an inability to cope with the loss of his lovers as he is reliant upon each of the women and the qualities they provide him with. Furthermore, this reliance Robby has upon them can be because of love addiction, and the post-traumatic stress Robby experiences can worsen his symptoms of love addiction which…show more content…
Signs of love addiction, as seen in Robby’s personality and behavior, include: “low self-esteem and lack of self-identity which result in obsessive, controlling behavior” (”Sex Addiction and Love Addiction”). Moreover, stress can worsen symptoms of love addiction because love and the emotional closeness of relationships are what a love addict uses to cope with stress. In other words, the symptoms of love addiction can worsen with greater amounts of stress. Plus, enduring an earthquake and seeing, not only one but two, injured lovers (i.e., Tanya and Minouche) can cause great amounts of post-traumatic stress on Robby. In other words; the earthquake, the sighting of Tanya’s dead body, witnessing the change in Minouche’s attitude and her injured foot can cause post-traumatic stress which can cause Robby to behave in an obsessive and controlling manner. However, that is not to diminish Robby’s already existing obsessive behavior in regard to Tanya, Minouche, and especially…show more content…
Again, Robby derives this relationship from the harem consisting of him and his three lovers, and Robby uses this relationship to feel like he is a complete, whole person in order to relieve him of the emptiness he feels within himself. Robby needs his lovers present so that he does not feel lonely which is another symptom of love addiction, in the case of when a love addict is not in a relationship. Of course, Robby’s need for emotional closeness from his three lovers is going to be greater during a time of significant loss and terror due to the post-traumatic stress from the Haitian earthquake. Accordingly, Robby’s need for emotional closeness and need to grieve the loss of Tanya and Minouche is normal and common among persons who have experienced post-traumatic stress from a natural disaster; nevertheless, Robby does become controlling and extremely obsessive because of his addiction to the love he feels in a relationship. Plus, Robby cannot spend three days without being with his lovers which indicates a sense of physical reliance of his three lovers (Zoboi,

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