Masterpieces of Women's Literature Gravity and Grace Analysis
Weil’s tone appears to be highly philosophical upon an initial reading, but it does take cohesive form as her subject progresses. The central issue is the battle between good and evil. Gravity and Grace addresses the common teachings of Christianity, but it also condones the human tendency to sin. This seems contradictory, yet Weil argues that it is only through sin that one can acknowledge the existence of God. This duality is acceptable to her, because “Contradiction alone is proof that we are not everything. Contradiction is our wretchedness, and the sense of our own wretchedness is the sense of reality.” Humanity is capable of performing ill, which is the required counterpart of righteousness, and this design presupposes conflict. For Weil, the two poles of spirituality are in some instances one and the same: An excess of goodness yields to the beginning of evil, so no crystal distinction can be made between them.
Gravity is the force that keeps the individual grounded; it is separate from grace (and therefore isolated from God). It is, as it were, the womb of sin. Grace is a celestial energy which prevails over void and gravity. Weil introduces the void as that area between human gravity and heavenly grace. The void is imperative for the animation of God—without a feeling of absence, there would be no longing. Humans are not capable of crossing this threshold that unites them with God; only the Supreme Being may cross over to meet them. Instead, they must only accept this void in the hope of future completion. Gravity holds people to themselves, and this attachment is a selfish desire for the present truth. God repudiates His essence to create humans; humans in return must become nothing to welcome God. This notion of “de-creation” pervades Weil’s thought—the denial of one’s own worth directly enables one to seek, and ultimately to reunite with, God. As an individual releases the self, so does gravity release that individual. Still...
(The entire section is 807 words.)