Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Eat, Pray, Love

Elizabeth Gilbert wastes no time conveying the magnitude of her depression in the expositional chapters of Eat, Pray, Love. She describes the steady deterioration of her marriage with her husband David and claims to have “reached infatuation’s final destination- the complete and merciless devaluation of self.” This excerpt correlates with Gilbert’s persistent mindset of insecurity and inferiority in the novel’s early chapters. However, as Gilbert travels abroad she steadily cultivates into a happier individual with a flourishing sense of value and purpose. Moreover, she acknowledges the importance of sadness and depression in human development. She begins to realize that anguish and sadness are just as central to the human experience as Joy and happiness. This notion of necessary suffering as a means of cultivating into a fuller person is expressed on numerous occasions throughout the novel as Gilbert’s emotional state improves. While traveling in India Gilbert studies the Bhagavad Gita and learns that, “it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection.” She gradually begins to understand that personal imperfection is inevitable but such imperfection defines people as individuals and sculpts their personal identities. Gilbert asserts that traumatic events temper our resolve to withstand depression, and are therefore necessary. Anyone who bears the burden of depression will “Someday look back on this moment of their life as such a sweet time of grieving. They’ll see that they were in mourning and their hearts were broken, but your life was changing.” Such changes allude to the gradual development of humanity through fluctuating experiences of sadness and happiness that are fundamentally necessary for development as an individual.

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