I found this quote interesting because of how it coincided with something that Voltaire wrote in Emile, that the best wife is the blank slate that can be filled in by the husband. Françoise de Graffigny probably started writing this novel after she saw a play by Voltaire, so it makes sense that she sounds similar to him.
“If you were an ordinary man, I [Zilia] would have remained in that state of ignorance to which those of my sex are condemned…had it not been for my desire to please you, would I have had the resolve to give up my blissful ignorance in exchange for the painful activity of study?”
Letters of a Peruvian Woman, P 17, Françoise de Graffigny
I think the most interesting part of the quote is that the study is up to Zilia to complete. She is permitted to by her fiance, or instructed to study, but she has to make this decision and work to learn. And this isn’t much, she is still kept in a state of ignorance up until the point where her fiance allows her to learn. But, it’s more than just being a sponge that is talked at for a while until you mirror your husband in every opinion.
I would not qualify allowing someone to be educated as loving them, but that is a modern perspective on this. Voltaire even saying that the wife could be educated at all was considered a step away from the norm of his time.
Zilia was willing to put in the time to study, and she acknowledges that is work to study. Sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to study, and Zilia needed that motivation. She found it through her affection for her finance, and the desire to make him proud. I sympathized with her, even though I don’t have the same motivator to learn as Zilia I have other motivators to learn and study.