Wednesday, April 6, 2011
"Eat, Pray, Love"
Elizabeth Gilbert’s, “Eat, Pray, Love” was an eye-opening experience for me. The novel immediately made me question why society is so fixed on setting a path for each individual and why we feel so inclined to follow that path. I began to question what I want in my life. As a 21 year old graduating senior, the norm would be for me to find a job (or go to graduate school), stay with my boyfriend and eventually get married, move out to the suburbs, and have children. I’m not saying I don’t want all of these things, because eventually, I do. However, I sometimes feel like I am being pushed forward when all I want to do is stop and enjoy the moment I am in right now. So is Elizabeth Gilbert selfish for leaving everything behind and venturing out to find herself? Absolutely not. I merely think she got a late start in the whole “finding yourself” process and now, as a married woman in her thirties, she is being penalized for it. For Gilbert, life was moving at a rapid speed on a track that she no longer felt comfortable on and in order to save herself she had to jump off that track regardless of the consequences. I think a majority of our class read this novel hoping that we will never be stuck on this mundane path that Gilbert found herself her. Nevertheless, the truth is that most people feel obliged to find their career directly after college and settle down before they hit 30. Gilbert often parallels her search for happiness to a search for God. She writes that “the search for God is a reversal of the normal, mundane worldly order. In the search for God, you revert from what attracts you and swim towards that which is difficult. You abandon your comforting and familiar habits with the hope (the mere hope!) that something greater will be offered you in return for what you’ve given up”( 175). This quote basically sums up Gilbert’s journey. She is leaving the familiar and venturing into the unknown in order to discover something greater than herself and greater than the now. I became an English major because I love literature and I love to write. I knew that having an English degree would most likely not get me a big-time job at a firm in Manhattan, but I’m okay with that. When I declared my major, I knew that I would also be happy in the job I choose because it would enable me to use my creative knowledge I have acquired over the years. As English majors, we are able to look outside of the box and see the world in a different light and I think this is why our class can relate so well to this novel. Gilbert’s courage is motivating, inspiring and captivating. Many of us may not be able to travel across the world in order to find ourselves but the main message is that finding yourself is necessary in order to live a fulfilling and happy life. Society tends to assume what people want and breaking free of this assumption is the first step towards pure happiness and content within oneself.