Literature Study GuidesEat Pray LoveBook 1 Chapters 7 9 Summary

Eat, Pray, Love | Study Guide

Elizabeth Gilbert

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Eat, Pray, Love | Book 1, Chapters 7–9 | Summary

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Summary

Book 1, Chapter 7

Gilbert explains more about meeting her guru. This actually occurred through David, who had accepted a beautiful, internationally known female guru as his spiritual teacher. When Liz sees the guru's picture, she immediately knows she wants her as a spiritual teacher, too. She learns how to meditate and begins practicing daily meditation. When she hears the woman speak in person, Gilbert decides she must go to the guru's ashram in India as soon as possible.

Book 1, Chapter 8

This chapter details how Gilbert came to meet the Indonesian medicine man who asks her to come and live with him. She is sent to Bali by her magazine editor to write a story on yoga vacations, and the teacher running the yoga retreat asks the students if they would like to visit "a ninth-generation Balinese medicine man." Gilbert eagerly accepts. The teacher says they are each allowed to ask him about one question or problem.

Gilbert describes Ketut Liyer as a look-alike of the Star Wars character Yoda. The question Gilbert asks him is how to live in the world and enjoy its delights while also being devoted to God. Liyer's response is to draw her a picture, which he interpreted thus: "You must keep your feet grounded ... ; Stop looking at the world through your head ... ; Look through your heart, instead." Then he reads her palm. He correctly assesses her as a world traveler, someone who worries and becomes nervous too much, and a person who earns money in a creative profession. He goes on to say she is very lucky, earns money easily but is about to lose most of it, and will be married twice and have one child (a daughter) late in life.

Then Liyer says with confidence that Gilbert will soon return to Bali and stay for three or four months. He suggests they become friends so he could practice English with her while he teaches her "everything I know." Without a thought, Gilbert says she will do it.

Book 1, Chapter 9

As Gilbert puts together her different desires—to learn Italian and live in a place of beauty and pleasure, to go to the ashram in India, and to go back to Bali—she formulates her plan to travel for a year, spending one-third of it in each place and writing about it. She just doesn't quite know how she can afford it.

In spring of 2003 Gilbert's estranged husband is ready to discuss a settlement; it is going to be very expensive for her. However, she is eager to walk away from what has become so toxic to her. The problem is that he is still fighting over all the details. She and David also break up again.

Gilbert has a publicity tour to go on, and she takes her Lebanese friend, Iva, with her for company. Iva listens to Gilbert complain about the divorce for a while and then advises her to write a petition to God asking that it be resolved. Gilbert does, and she has everyone she can imagine sign it in their hearts until she feels "surrounded by the collective goodwill of so many mighty souls." Then she takes a nap while Iva drives. Her cell phone awakes her. It is her lawyer with the news, "He just signed it!"

Analysis

It's a good thing Gilbert has already worked hard to capture the good will of her readers, because this part of her story presents scenarios that very few can relate to. She can afford her own apartment in New York City, even though she and her estranged husband already own a Manhattan apartment and a big house in the suburbs. She gets paid to travel to Bali and to go across the country signing books for adoring fans. She has enough free time to study yoga and Italian. She even has the nerve to think that people like Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama would sign her petition to God asking for divorce. Yet Gilbert is as much aware of her good fortune as anyone. So is Ketut Liyer, who tells her "You have more good luck than anyone I've ever met." Her tone remains self-deprecatory, helping most readers continue to appreciate how honest she is being.

Gilbert does not believe there are any coincidences in life. She is alert for signs that the universe is talking to her. She embraces what she perceives as messages with little effort. This will continue to be the case throughout her memoir and is also part of how she endears herself to readers.

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