In the three works we read for today, there were many common themes. Perfection and beauty were two of them, as previously mentioned by my classmates, but that wasn’t the one that stuck out to me the most. I feel that in these three works, the excerpt from Eat Pray Love, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, and John Milton’s “When I Consider How My Light is Spent”, I get an overwhelming feeling of acceptance from each work, all in a different way.
In the novel Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert takes a year out of her life to spend in three different countries, trying to find herself. Her first stop is in Italy, and the excerpt we had to read was during the time she was about to transition from Italy to India. As a reader, I could sense her restlessness in Rome. Gilbert even goes as far as to say, “Somehow I knew it was not my city, not where I’d end up living for the rest of my life. There was something about Rome that didn’t belong to me, and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was” (102). I think it was then that she realized that like relationships, she could outgrow places, as well. The whole section we had to read was about finding a specific word that describes ourselves. Obviously, it’s a little difficult to find one word for our entire lives. She admitted that her word at some point was “sex” and would have matched up with Rome at some point in her life, just not at the moment. She has moved on, and accepted the fact that she has had different words for different times in her life, just as “marriage”, “family”, and “depression” once were all her words as well.
In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, or “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”, he is also accepting, in a more practical way. He’s being completely honest about how his mistress looks like. And according to his description, she isn’t all that attractive. He even mentions “in some perfumes there is more delight than in the breath that from my mistress reeks”! It’s quite comical that he is so blatantly insulting his mistress. However, at least he wasn’t going to lie to her and tell her that her eyes look like the sun, even though they do not. I think, in this aspect, he was challenging the other writers of that time who put all of their women on pedestals, singing of their praises even though all those women may not have had roses in their cheeks. He accepted the fact that his mistress isn’t a perfect 10 and loves her despite her imperfections.
In “When I consider how my light is spent” by John Milton, the speaker is ultimately accepting life and death. I think this poem correlates with his life because at the time of writing this poem, he was blind. The light he is referring to in the title literally is life, and the darkness is death. The speaker accepts the fact that he is going to die, and thus convinces himself that his time has come to leave this Earth. He then asks God if it is his time, and Patience replies to him saying that it is not his time yet. However, Patience also says that he should not work anymore, for he is already going to heaven. The speaker then gets to patiently, of course, wait for his death accepting the fact that it will eventually happen and that he will eventually go to heaven.
All of these works share the common theme of acceptance through life lessons. Shakespeare learns that he should just be honest and accept that his woman is not a goddess, Milton accepts the fact that he is going to die, and Gilbert accepts the fact that she no longer fits a particular word. Realizations like these can have impacts long after the events that cause them. These are situations where acceptance are important, so that people can move on with their lives, or in Milton's case, look forward to the end of his life.