Gift from the Sea Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 31 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Gift from the Sea.
This section contains 664 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Gift from the Sea Summary & Study Guide Description

Gift from the Sea Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Literary Precedents and a Free Quiz on Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Gift from the Sea is a book written by famed author and wife of legendary pilot Charles Lindbergh, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The subject of tragedy and strength, Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares with the reader intimate tales of her journey to date, 1955.

Anne travels to an island where she will remain for two weeks. For the first week, the author is alone. For the second week, Anne's sister takes up residence. During the first week, Anne struggles with leaving the family behind in Connecticut. Although knowing one must have alone time to contemplate, heal and rest, the author shows some guilt about the solo getaway. It takes a couple of days for the author to get settled in and to begin to embrace the solitude that accompanies the small cottage and the sea. Intentions are good, at first, to do all of those things one thinks to do when there is spare time. Those things remain undone as Anne becomes seduced by both the beach and the sea. The sea is used as a metaphor for the unknown and often turbulent state of life but the author is also eager to point out what wonderful gifts the sea offers, if only one can learn to see and realize their significance.

In addition to the metaphor of the sea, the author compares each stage of life to a particular shell found on the beach. All the beautiful shells cannot, and should not, be collected. One must choose and be content in that selection. The first shell is the Channeled Whelk. The empty shell offers the only sense of protection for the sea creature and the author reflects on possible reasons one might leave one's only known shelter to set out into the unknown. The second shell is the Moon Shell, a precisely formed shell that has a black eye in the center. This shell represents separation and aloneness. The third shell is the Double-Sunrise, a shell that is actually two shells, both perfect and symmetrical, connected in the center with a hinge. The Double-Sunrise represents the fragile state of a new relationship. The fourth shell is the Oyster Shell. It is not beautiful like the others; it is bumpy and has unsightly growths. The author compares it to a house with many additions.

In analyzing each stage of life, the author uncovers mysteries and discoveries about the true nature of humankind, the relationships with self and other humans. The roles of gender are examined with great thought and some humor. The author surmises that the main problem in society today is that people try to do too much and are fragmented. That fragmentation can never bring happiness when the inner self craves nothing but peace and serenity. Still, humankind keeps trying.

Relationships play a great part in this book. Marriages, families and friendships are examined. People are notorious for not being able to accept change when it is necessary to maintain life and love. The author determines that in order to gain serenity, one must realize that there are no perfect days, merely perfect moments strung together. Each must be willing to ride out the storm and embrace what is good.

As the book progresses, the author becomes more comfortable with herself as a person rather than as a woman who plays many roles to many people. With the solitude of the beach, even with the presence of her sister, Anne allows herself to be who she is and does not pretend to have all the answers. Many writers and philosophers are quoted, their ideas woven into the fabric of the author's reasoning. In the end, Anne seems to have come to terms with the fact she will return to life in the city and the solitude and serenity achieved at the beach will more than likely fade away. However, upon her desk will rest the four shells taken from the beach and hopefully, the shells will remind her of the her conclusions and hopes for the future.

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This section contains 664 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Gift from the Sea Study Guide
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