And If You Ever Feel Alone... Essay

And If You Ever Feel Alone... Essay

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Loneliness is one of the most desolate emotions a human can feel; to feel alone means to be alone, at least most of the time. However, emotions are fickle and tend to stray away from the textbook definitions that humans have assigned them, instead choosing to become more complex. The complexity of emotions creates a multitude of interpretations, allowing each to become individualized with the human experiencing them. Writers have often taken advantage of the complexity of emotions and attempted to display them through their words, poems, and stories. Loneliness is one of those emotions that writers tend to favor because it explores the darker part of the human soul and allows room for growth and improvement in characters. The use of loneliness as an overall theme is thoroughly expressed in Elisavietta Ritchie’s poem “Sorting Laundry”, Willa Cather’s novel My Ántonia, Arthur Miller’s drama Death of a Salesman, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story “Interpreter of Maladies”. In each piece of literature, the writers explore the depth that loneliness has to offer as an emotion while their characters explore the various ways to handle that same depth.
In the poem “Sorting Laundry” by Elisavietta Ritchie, loneliness is established through the theme that oftentimes, in order to avoid feeling lonely, one will hold onto that which is no longer there. Although the persona never actually experiences true loneliness, she still fears of waking up to an “empty side of the bed” (line 51) where her lover normally lies. The relationship between the two, revealed to the reader as the persona sorts through their clothing and belongings, is not one that will lead to happily ever after. They may have been through “many washings” (lines 7-8) together, but...


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...fferent, they all consist of the same backbone or basis. The loneliness described and experienced by each of the characters has different effects on them, but stems from the same place. The characters feel lonely because in their minds they are alone, no matter the situation. In reality, it is that mindset that creates the complexity of emotions and makes them stray from how they are defined. Humans have the ability to convince themselves of anything, and when it comes to emotions, it is easier to persuade oneself into believing that they are feeling a certain way because they cannot look at themselves objectively. For loneliness, a person is not always able to see the support or way out that others are able to view. It is this desolation that keeps writers focused on this specific emotion because there is a lot of potential and possibility available to work with.

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