Toul min Analysis of "Attraction" In "The Mystery of Attraction," Harville Hendrix claims that attraction between human beings is based on a number of factors that ultimately leave human beings baffled on exactly how humans experience such intense emotions as seen in romantic love and why so many couples tend to have complementary characteristics. He supports this claim by explaining several theories of attraction. His biological theory of courtship states that "we instinctively select mates who will enhance the survival of the species" (483). This theory suggests instinctive evolutionary attraction such as a female's rosy cheeks on a slender frame and a male's muscular physique are the features which take paramount importance in mate selection. Another theory, which he calls the exchange theory, emphasizes that "we select mates who are more or less our equals" (483). This theory proposes the act of mate selection as being a game of weighing the positive and negative characteristics in hopes of attaining equality in all aspects of both mates.
His final idea, which is called the persona theory, "maintains that an important factor in mate selection is the way a potential suitor enhances our self esteem" (483-484). Attraction as it pertains to this theory places emphasis on what others think and the image of how others perceive someone with a certain mate. Hendrix's argument has one warrant: The assumption that all human beings are in search of a mate. He prepares for rebuttal by mentioning several counterarguments including the passionate emotional dissatisfaction experienced during a breakup as well as the continual habit of choosing mates that are remarkably similar to previous mates.
The backing for his warrants takes the form of a list which depicts ten main characteristics of a marriage. Most of the characteristics are based around the subconscious mind of humans, placing much emphasis on the basic needs and desires of a person. The results of a poll are also included at the end of the essay which reinforces the author's exchange theory. As a qualifier, Hendrix states that "Although these three theories help explain some aspects of romantic love, we are still left with our original questions" (484). He says that despite a plenitude of research, the answers remain a mystery. Critique: I found this essay to be enlightening in several ways.
Not only was the information presented in an organized way, but it was also very interesting. I agree with the author's statements about the trials and tribulations of relationships, and I find myself agreeing most with his biological theory of attraction. I especially liked the psychological direction of the essay, as it remained fairly objective and scientific while still presenting new and different ideas as witnessed by his inclusion of historical facts with the addition of his own unique analysis and commentary applicable to today's society. Hendrix, Harville. "The Mystery of Attraction." Perspectives on Argument. 4 th ed.
Ed. Nancy V. Wood. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004. 481-487.