(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

During the 1950’s, women’s roles as housewives and mothers brought about some restless feelings. Women began to search for answers to ease their unhappiness. Lindbergh’s book offered possible avenues for spiritual replenishment by suggesting that women simplify their lives. She wrote that technology, rapid changes, and the fast pace of modern life had cluttered women’s lives. She suggested that women make time in their days to be alone, away from responsibilities, in order to nurture their spirituality.

In Gift from the Sea, Lindbergh discusses relationships between women and men. She encourages women to pursue personal growth and to accept growth in their mates. Although some distances may result from each spouse growing in different directions, Lindbergh concludes that the distances are not to be feared. The growth in relationships is like the growth of branches on a tree: each reaches in ever-broadening directions, but the trunk still remains stable in the ground.

Lindbergh also offers perspectives on love. She writes that love cannot be viewed as a permanent emotional condition that is without movement and change. Instead, love is constantly alive and altering in expression and feeling. By allowing for the fluidity of love brought about by growth, relationships are made stronger. Love must be given the freedom of ebb and flow.

As family members grow and begin to take independent paths, a mother’s role is often left in limbo. Lindbergh addresses this issue and that of becoming middle-aged. Besides simplifying life in regard to time schedules, acquaintances, and space, women need to pursue activities that let them continue to give with purpose. For Lindbergh, this need is met by finding a solitary place where she can write, where she can forget herself, her companions, and the future. She suggests that women find their own creative activities to escape briefly the routines and responsibilities that surround them.

In solitude, women can nurture their inner lives, that aspect that is so often lost as one nourishes husband and family. In this way, women can find a sense of dignity as individuals, rather than letting themselves be standardized in thought and action. Lindbergh encourages women to nurture themselves as well as their families by finding a balance that allows for physical, intellectual, and spiritual development. Simplicity of time and space provides the environment in which such development can take place.