Our three readings this week, “One Word,” by Elizabeth Gilbert, “When I consider how my light is spent,” by John Milton, and “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,” all have the feeling of yearning in common. The speakers are all looking for something believe in. They are forced to look past their hardships and problems and find that special something that makes sense to them.
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s sense, the speaker is searching for her “word.” That one word is going to give purpose to her life again. She has gone to New York City, Rome, and possibly in the future to India to not only run away from her problems with past relationships but discover who she really is. She asks herself, “Had I finally been affected by the word on the streets in Rome?” She refuses to let that word in because it is getting in the way of finding her true meaning, her true ‘word.’ Maybe she is pushing it away because she is scared and because it is in fact the thing she has been searching for. Sex will give her life purpose again because she will finally be able to forget about her past relationship and proceed on with her life.
Furthermore, in William Shakespeare’s “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,” he is looking for a way to love his mistress. It is common for men to compliment a women and say “You’re eyes are as bright as the sun,” or “You’re lips are as red as coral,” but Shakespeare does not. He does not want to compliment his woman through words, but through actions. By the end of the poem it is as if he comes to realize that his feelings of love for her are enough to truly love her, “…my love is rare, As any she, belied with false compare.” She doesn’t need false compliments that in no way can be true. He loves her for her flaws and to him that is enough.
Lastly, in “When I consider how my light is spent,” the speaker is searching for how he wants to spend his life. Since John Milton went blind early in his life, he struggled to show his talent of poetry. He finds that putting his faith in God will help him spend his “light” the way he hopes to, by being able to see again. He feels God will come to those who are patient and he will be helped –“They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Overall all three pieces this week were works of describing the discovery of oneself.