Romance in Martin Wickramasinghe writings

Undoubtedly romance and deep sentimental issues is one of he main subject matters in Martin Wickramasinghe's literature. Ultimately most of his writings are about social matters and, in some, politics. But in a whole the most external and broad themes in his literature sometimes mirrored and paralleled some more inner and introspective themes of love, longing, existence and deep philosophical situations that were a great deal of interest for Martin Wickramasinghe.

His most notorious work in this matter is definitely Rohini (1929), it was one of his first novels. Rohini is a novel about a legendary affair between Athula and Rohini, long before the advent of artificial gimmicks, on a time were desperate passion could be fueled by only a stare. This story plays out in the same nature and tradition of romance novels, a fair beautiful princess is courted by two men. One has a better approval from the girls father than the other suitor, the one who is who she truly loves. This particular story has a lot of the traditional love story elements of the romantic novel. It contains a sense of melodrama and it deals with the impossibility of two young lover who can't be together due to a separation put in by a stronger force.

However this love story is surrounded by a complex and contrived landscape of political and social commentary made by Wickramasinghe. He uses the romance story in a sense of symbolism of what is happening at the time. He avidly uses the characters as a symbolic metaphor of the things that are happening at his country during that time. Functioning as both a storyteller and a commentator, Wickramasinghe delivers one of Sri Lanka's most important books of its history, his posterior work for most might be superior, but Rohini has a sense of value, since it takes from the traditional romance novel and creates an acute commentary of a larger scale of things.

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