Loneliness…an American Malady

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Essays on Loneliness

In Carson McCullers’ Loneliness…an American Malady, human’s quest for identity and the need to be part of a group were investigated. The author tried to link the social affliction of loneliness with the never ending search for one’s true individuality. It was mentioned that for most Americans, the notion of being alone can become a very painstaking experience but it may seem that this dreadful situation is an inevitable part of life.

For some, to escape the haunting feeling of loneliness, they choose to stay in crowded places like the city of New York. But little do they know that no matter how they try to avoid being alone, the feeling of loneliness will not dissipate. It all boils down to people’s acknowledgement of their genuine identity before they can realize that they belong to a group or that they are part of the social system. The road to self-discovery and belongingness gives out the impression that it takes a conscious effort for these endeavors to materialize.

But in reality, people tend to prioritize first their wants and they opt to dwell on negativity which obscures the path towards the exploration of one’s identity. More so, McCuller emphasized that “consciousness of self is the first abstract problem that the human being solves. ” This means that people are innately equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to make self discovery a reality. As time passes by, people also grow which yields to maturity. But as people grow up, they tend to shift their interest to other things resulting to isolation.

Ironically, this same dilemma is also considered as the means wherein people can determine the relation between “themselves and the world in which they find themselves” (Shrodes, 2007, pp. 267-268). Nevertheless, human beings still try their best to become an integral part of a whole whether this is a personal or professional social unit. The desire to be wanted and needed intensifies as people mature. Many are enticed with the idea of the “we” concept which is formed through the expression of happy emotions such as love.

Furthermore, it appears that if love is present, fear is not evident. This ideal condition is appropriate for forging relationships thus the sense of belongingness can be easily attained. Meanwhile, if fear dominates people’s thoughts, the probability of being a pessimist and skeptic is very high. If this materializes, the quest for one’s identity can be a long and winding journey. Additionally, this type of attitude can further result to hatred, destruction and even violence.

So it is important to foster love and to be amicable in order to fully comprehend the complexities of knowing oneself. For many Americans, the problem does not lay on their outlook in life but more on the insensible yearning to understand things on their own. The choice to be alone is the main cause why people opt not to discover their identity. The reason for this is that no one can really learn or know something without the help of external factors. Human by nature are social beings. They cannot exist on their own.

Moreover, humans are constantly seeking for answers whether in an isolated or crowded place but it is important to remember that the solutions are always embedded within our very selves. When everything is figured out, then one’s identity can be fully disclosed. Through this, people can learn how to cope with loneliness and eventually they can realize the significance of the sense of belongingness. With this, everyone can live a life that they have dreamed of – a life free from loneliness.

Works Cited

  • Shrodes, Caroline. Conscious Reader, The,Brief Edition. London: Longman, 2007.

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