How would I argue that Eat, Pray, Love is a travelogue of a lady in despair?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I cannot help but feel that if you are going to argue the point that the novel is a mere travelogue about a woman in despair, you would have to discard the ending.  I think that the narrative starts off like this.  Elizabeth has found her life to be shockingly lacking in formative elements and sets off on journeys that she has wanted to take for some time.  She does this and certainly, if there was little substantive to her explorations, Elizabeth's work might come across in this superficial light.  Certainly, each stop on the journey can be seen as some type of step towards a foundation where consciousness is more productive and where her crippling depression is mitigated because of the purpose she finds in her life.  Italy is the setting where friendships and associations are validated.  India is the domain where inner peace is established.  Indonesia is where love for both herself and others is established.  I think that these elements help to create something more than a travelogue because the "lady in despair" is no longer as evident.  In each stop, something significant and substantive is added to the narrative.  In doing so, there is something more than Elizabeth's travel and living in her despairing state.

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