Sunday, February 20, 2011

Committed.... by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a sequel to her Eat, Pray, Love. Reviews says she is a skeptic who has made peace with marriage or rather was trying to make peace with it via the book. First this is an informative book, though one has to be mindful that quite a bit is based on her own perception. But she gives the reader a good roundup of the changes that the marriage institution has seen in past centuries.

Divorce rates is on the rise, and I agree with her that the emancipation of women has something to do with it. In the olden days, women found security in marriage. It was not safe not to have a 'protector'. Where brawn ruled, the weaker sex needed protection. Empires were built (and torn apart) by marriages. Marriages were business propositions. You did not have to be in love to marry someone. A girl (and boy also) were 'traded' or played like chess pieces to consolidate, join, tie and unite for social, economic and political reasons.

Marriage has always been advantageous to men but women never did question much. They accepted their inferior position as their lot.... till the 20th century. The interest of the society always came before the individual. But 19th century Industrial Revolution brought wealth and education. Thus individualization took off.

She's candid! A lot of what she expresses are stuff that we think of too, just that they're seldom talked about.... inhibited by social and cultural practices. A woman assumes more responsibilities in a marriage. Some of her thoughts...marriage in America has evolved to the point where a woman could be both a wife and a human being. But a successful long-term human partnership requires a certain Death of the Self. Marriage is a repressive tool against both man and woman who enter into it... When we marry for love, the relationship is actually fragile, unlike those marriages entered into for economic, social and political reasons. She has many interesting quotes from thinkers of past... one of them being Kant... about going through 2 puberties. LOL!

The book is interesting enough but personally I think marriage should be keeps... though it's not hard to be convinced why stay in one if there is incompatibility. Then again, incompatibility is something that's possible to be sorted out... after all when a couple marries, they were compatible.. the incompatibility crept in later, or one decides to stop being magnanimous, or demanding or abusive.... it's all a choice. I wish Gilbert well in her marriage though.... I hope they are able to work at keeping their compatibility together. But this is a good read; if anything for the social cultural journey of marriage that the reader traverse with the author.

And it's good to know that Gilbert still finds this institution relevant... even though she implies hers is forced upon them because of the immigration problems Felipe was thrust into. Hey! But then again, they can always settle down in Australia. In the end, sometimes we need a push sometimes to walk down this gangway.... and take the plunge. LOL!

Book 8.... feels good that I can still finish an average of 4 books a week. 8)

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