In a very interesting study of the blunders written by students, there is a story about how Milton came to write his epics. According to a very imaginative student, Milton got married and he wrote Paradise Lost. Later his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained. Though how many times he repeated this practice only history can answer as can be seen from the number of his wives.
Now in popular culture, marriage and love are usually celebrated while divorce is usually represented as the end of your life. From Jane Austen novels to present day romance novels, there is a long tradition of writing that ties up your life neatly in terms of love and marriage. Then there are as many number of chick-flicks that show how the course of true love never did run smooth.
Eat Pray Love is a 2006 novel by Elizabeth Gilbert that is quite unconventional because of its veracity and audacity. Told in the first person autobiographical mode of narration, the novel depicts a woman’s search for identity after a rather painful and time-consuming divorce. A woman in her thirties, instead of settling down and having a family of her own, is haunted by anxiety attacks. She wants to be free and decides to go on an adventurous trip all by herself.
She feels that she has been floating through life without an identity of her own. Once her marriage breaks down, she lands straight into the hands of a lover named David. One of her friends makes a remark that if she had resembled her husband earlier, now she resembled David. This turns her inward and she wants to find out what she is really like and what she really wants out of life.
After her brief rebound affair with David, she recognises that another relationship is not quite the answer that she is looking for. She travels to three places that have only one thing in common- the first letter I- Italy, India and Indonesia. In Italy, she learns the native language and finds a new interest in friendship and in the Italian cuisine. A word catches her attention- attraversiamo- which means “let’s cross over” commonly used by her friends when crossing streets.
She goes to India and scrubs floors in an ashram while learning how to recite the prayers correctly. She meets Richard from Texas who calls becomes friends with her and calls her groceries. Her next place of visit is Indonesia, where she meets an ancient medicine man Kekut Liyer who asks her to enjoy life to the fullest and to laugh right from the liver.
She meets a Brazilian divorcee named Felippe in Bali and agrees to spend time with him. She also helps a traditional healer named Wayan to build a house with the help of financial aid from the US. Her experiences make her believe in the goodness of life once more and she feels that she has finally confronted her inner demons. Her scars hurt her less and finally she recognises that she has become much lighter as she has performed this wonderful act of crossing over. A feel good book about divorce, the film adaptation released in 2010 has Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert.