Love’s Vocabulary is essentially an essay in which Diane Ackerman, the author of said essay, articulately explains and hypothesizes the true versatility of the word “love,” and how this lovely four-lettered word encompasses and influences the human race as a whole.
A specific quote from Love’s Vocabulary, in which Diane is explaining the authority love holds over our beings, states that “Perhaps this is why Cupid is depicted with a quiver of arrows, because at times love feels like being pierced in the chest. It is a wholesome violence.” Ackerman is expressing the observation that love can, at times, be a penetrating pain. However, she uses the word “perhaps,” as if her reasoning behind Cupid’s arrows is simply theoretical. This depicts the tone of the excerpt to be speculative, and although the term applies to the particular quote about Cupid, it can also be used to describe the essay as a whole. Ackerman is basing her ideas about love off of somewhat putative evidence, connections, and observations, but not off of cold, hard fact.
Ackerman states that “Love is the white light of emotion. It includes man feelings which, out of laziness and confusion, we crowd into one simple word.” She goes on to explain love away with thoughts expressed in comparative literary devices. This may be due to the bold statement that begins Love’s Vocabulary: “Love is the great intangible.” This simply means that love is a concept difficult to grasp. Perhaps there is a lack of understanding due to the fact that love’s meaning is not explained away by scientific research; love’s interpretation is not set in stone. Since there is no completely accurate definition and understanding of love, Diane’s essay is composed of inferences based on circumstantial evidence which cannot be used to one hundred percent prove love’s meaning. Although Diane’s explanation of love makes sense, her hypothesis is merely just that; a hypothesis. In conclusion, Ackerman’s essay is set in a tone best described as speculative, as the entire essay is arranged speculation.