In her novel Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert embarks on the harrowing journey of rediscovery that plagues the middle age of the modern (wo)man. Her story starts with the divorce of her husband and the disintegration of the normalcy in her life. Thrown into a state of chaotic depression, she resolves to restore the balance in her life. This restoration manifests in the form of pilgrimage. She travels through Europe and Asia in a 3-part excursion that she separates into Eat, Pray, and Love.
The ultimate goal for Gilbert is to find the love that was lost to her in the beginning of her tale. This search for love is quintessential to the journey of the middle life crisis. Love is symbolic of the balance that Gilbert seeks to rediscover. It is the cornerstone of one’s faith and it is within this love that one may find his stasis–his safe haven–and settle under love’s ceiling in their true home.
The problem I have with this story is that Gilbert needs a male companion in order to reestablish the order in her life. I understand that it fulfills the love lost in the beginning of the book, but it detracts from the idea of self-fulfillment. I perhaps harkens on the idea of a complete human being being the union of a man and a woman (2 heads, 4 arms and legs). I understand why Gilbert wanted what she got, but I would’ve like this story much better if she was able to resolve her journey purely by her own power. Still, the quest for love requires compensation for that love and Gilbert found her answer when she moved back to the United States with her betrothed.