I found Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love to be a bit disconcerting. It was an enjoyable read, and truly I do feel that there is a certain charm and glamour in the idea of traveling to different and foreign places. However, I also feel that this is a luxury that not everyone can afford, both financially and just realistically. I found myself thinking bout Nwoye who didn't fit in his own society, or the boy from "Sons of the Return Home," and I can;t help but think that they wouldn't have been able to realize themselves as she did on some worldwide expedition. Or at least, it wouldn't have been some great trying journey that eventually led to some congratulatory self-realization.
I think the feeling that comes across most strongly is Gilbert's feelings of displacement which I feel every reader can relate to, as well as the desire to travel, wanderlust. This is the great american dream, if not, a worldwide celebrated dream. Everyone wants to go to some new and exotic place. I think that one true thing that Gilbert taps into is the reality that every place we visit has something of value to teach us. I think that Gilbert's journey demonstrates an extreme understanding of home as fluid.
Perhaps because Nwoye is forced to leave a home that would otherwise never suit him, and because the boy from "Sons of the Return Home," in my eyes, embarks on an inescaple journey to find home, more so than Gilbert. Perhaps that is why I found it difficult to sympathize with her. One idea that did stick with me particularly strong was the words of the Bhagavad Gita "it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection" (95). She definitely takes these words t heart and asserts that she is living her life, "Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly" (95). This is a theme I think is useful in thinking about the two other characters that I mentioned.
Gilbert herself is aware that she has achieved the american dream but that it isn't for her; she is daring to extend herself outside of her comfort zone in order to discover herself. Still, a part of me felt that she was belittling the experiences of people who can't just chose to go on a journey as she had. She makes it sound glamorous, but as we now know through some of our readings, that isn't always the case.