Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Narrative Criticism: Patience and Love Poem by Lang Leave

People are growing impatient in today’s fast-paced world, where actions tend to be accomplished with a snapshot. For example, gone are the days when computers produced results in days, and coffee can now be made instantly; similarly, people expect to achieve things at the speed of thought. People want success, happiness, money, and love instantly. Ben-Zeév (2021) notes that the modern speed-oriented culture has made people impatient, expecting quick rewards, immediate gratification, and rapid fulfillment. Specific to love, most people feel that staying in one relationship is a compromise and relinquishes the opportunity of finding a better partner. However, any successful person in love will admit that patience is integral to this success. A narrative criticism approach will be used to analyze a poem to explore the virtue of patience in romantic relationships.


In her poem Patience and Love (2014), Lang Leave provides the virtue of patience as she encourages the audience to persevere when things fail to go as planned in relationships, since eventually, love will be attained, even if it may take a lifetime. This poem is among her poetry and prose collection known as Lullabies, which has romantic tales covering yearnings, desires, and losses that most people globally can connect to. Leave is an international best-selling author born in a refugee camp and spent her formative years in Australia (Leav, n.d.). She resides in New Zealand with her fellow author and partner, Michael Faudet (Hardie grant publishing, n.d.). Most of Leave’s work concerns love, heartache, sex, and betrayal. From a broader perspective, her works can be described as confessional. Perhaps her experience as a refugee during her early years and her writing career success later informs how she acknowledges the virtue of patience in overcoming difficulties, including those of love.

This paper will examine the Patience and Love poem in Leave’s Lullabies collection using narrative criticism to explore how narrative is used to make people understand the nature of successful romantic relationships and the virtue of patience and persevering difficulties associated with love affairs. Specifically, the narrative will focus on themes and characters of the poem that allow Leave to achieve these objectives in the poem.



The poem reveals four significant themes: covenant, devotion, perseverance, and fulfillment. These themes highlight the attributes of a successful romantic relationship, what is required to navigate it, and the results of those practices, as detailed below.

The poem begins by stating how Patience and Love agreed to meet at a specific time and place. The reader knows this place is “beneath the twenty-third tree in the olive orchard.” This description reveals the theme of covenant, a significant characteristic in any romantic relationship. Here, the two persons, arguably romantic partners, commit and define the requirements to meet that commitment: to meet at a specific time and place. The poet is, however, quick to note that while Patience arrived promptly, Love was nowhere to be seen. This revelation sets the poet’s first goal: romantic relationship covenants are only sometimes met. Notably, this stanza is one of the two longest stanzas in the poem, consisting of four lines. This implies that perhaps the poet intends to emphasize that while making covenants in romantic relationships is typical and desirable, things may not always turn out as planned. This insight informs the reader to prepare for such outcomes, thus avoiding disappointments associated with such eventualities.

The second theme of the poem is devotion. Following the delay of the appointment, the poet takes time in the second stanza to inform the reader that Love eventually made it to the agreed place. By this time, Patience was already doubtful of the agreed location, wondering whether it was “the twenty-third tree or the fifty-sixth.” As the poem unfolds, Patience and Love are depicted as looking for each other in the olive orchard, although they never meet. Despite the delay, these events portray the two persons as enthusiastic and dedicated to meeting their covenant. Here, the poet is trying to inform the reader that disappointments in a romantic relationship should not stop lovers from pursuing their covenants. In retrospect, the poet may even be challenging lovers who quickly lose their course due to past failures and succumb to the pressures of romantic hurdles.

The third theme is perseverance which mimics the feeling and tone of the devotion theme. While the poem is short, and the same stanzas highlighting the theme of devotion still apply to the theme of perseverance, the poet ensures that the elements of devotion and perseverance are distinct. First, Patience does not leave despite Love being late. This is uncharacteristic of many lovers as they fail to endure the failures of their partners. Unbeknown to Love, Patience had already arrived. Similarly, Love does not leave. Focusing on Love’s failures is risky, considering Patience was the first to arrive. However, both persons are undergoing the same predicament of finding their lover. With the poet depicting both as continually searching for each other, the poet’s message is clear: lovers must endure each other’s failures.

Finally, the theme of fulfillment marks the epitome of the poem. Patience is depicted as an exhausted person at the end of the poem. “Feeling lost and resigned,” Patience ends the search where it started, beneath the same twenty-third tree. The poet uses this description to illustrate how prolonged disappointment can risk giving up and breaking up romantic relationships. However, the poet quickly notes that Love taps Patience on the shoulder after barely a minute. This conclusion may seem as coincidental or by luck. However, the poet presents two elements that assure the reader that the desirable conclusion of fulfillment will eventually be achieved, provided the themes of devotion and perseverance are upheld. First, the poet uses direct speech to illustrate how Love advises Patience against actively seeking him as he will find her. Notably, Patience declares looking for Love throughout her life. This conversation implies that Patience and Love will always meet. Second, Patience and Love eventually meet beneath the twenty-third tree, the location defined in their covenant. This is significant as the lovers’ difficulties were instigated by the delay in meeting the covenant obligation. However, with the lovers showing devotion and perseverance, the obligation was fulfilled, and the two are now together. This conclusion highlights that the success of a romantic relationship is not by luck but by devotion and perseverance from both parties.


Characters are also critical in helping Leave achieve the objective of the nature of successful romantic relationships and the virtue of patience and persevering difficulties in romantic relationships. Leave uses only two characters, Patience and Love, which aligns perfectly with the poem’s brevity.

The two characters are allegorical as they personify the abstract concepts of patience and love. Notably, patience and love have no spatial or physical constraints and lack direct representation in the physical world. Using allegorical characters, Leave effectively conveys the moral lesson that romantic relationships are not easy; instead are full of obstacles, but love will always prevail where there is patience. This choice of allegorical characters is essential to the reader as most people understand the simple terms patience and love, yet they fail to exercise patience in romantic relationships. For example, the direct speech between the allegorical characters used by the poet at the end of the poem appeals to the reader to acknowledge that patience is a requirement for attracting, maintaining, and harboring love. Therefore, using allegorical characters allows the poet to appeal to the reader for in-depth meanings beyond the literal meaning of the words.

In the poem, Patience is portrayed as a female as the poet refers to the character as a “she,” and Love as a male as the character is referred to as “he.” Arguably, Patience is depicted as the protagonist as she has to overcome some challenges to achieve love fulfillment. While Love is presented with equal measure to overcome some obstacles, he is depicted as the one presenting the first obstacle of failing to meet the obligation, and thus the antagonist. Perhaps the poet chose this approach to imply that women in relationships are more punctual and often meet agreements than men. However, the poet quickly depicts men as reactive to situations as Love strives and ensures he finds his partner, Patience. This observation is significant as Brown (2020) reports that 36% of women daters seek a committed relationship compared to 22% that of men. Therefore, the poet enlightens the reader that while men may delay meeting romantic agreements, they ensure that they make up for the delay and meet their agreements. This assertion is supported by a recent finding by Johnson et al. (2022), who reports that during romantic difficulties, men and women’s perceptions in predicting relationship satisfaction in the future carry equal weight.


The narrative criticism of the Patience and Love by Lang Leave provides some strategies in terms of themes and characters that rhetors can utilize to encourage lovers to be patient with romantic hurdles. In a broader perspective, rhetors can also use these strategies to encourage all people in the society to be patient with difficulties encountered in life. The themes of covenant, devotion, perseverance, can be used to show how fulfillment is finally attained. Allegorical characters can also be used to appeal to more in-depth meanings beyond the literal meanings of the characters to address and reflect on human nature and the society. Consequently, people are more likely to be more patient in romantic relationships and beyond and break from the culture of quick rewards, immediate gratification, and rapid fulfillment.


Ben-Zeév, A. (2021, December 14). Why patience can be essential for romantic relationships. Psychology Today.

Brown, A. (2020). Nearly half of US adults say dating has gotten harder for most people in the last 10 years. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.

Hardie grant publishing. (n.d.). Lang Leav. HardieGrant.

Johnson, M. D., Lavner, J. A., Muise, A., Mund, M., Neyer, F. J., Park, Y., … & Impett, E. A. (2022). Women and Men are the Barometers of Relationships: Testing the Predictive Power of Women’s and Men’s Relationship Satisfaction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences119(33), e2209460119.

Leav, L. (n.d.). About. langleav.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics