Isolation in Literature

I recently finished reading a collection titled the selected poems of Byron, Keats and Shelly. The sense of being alone is a constant theme in the books I’ve read this past year. Looking back at some of the reviews that I’ve posted here, isolation is the common theme underlying these books. This is the kind of isolation that almost anyone can relate to and feel empowered knowing it is a shared feeling.

At times it is the characters in the novel that are lonesome. Other times it the overall vibe of the book. Not all books explicitly address the theme of isolation, but that feeling is the underlying current that drives the action.

There is a confidence that goes together with standing up for one’s viewpoints and ideals. At times I come across books written from a place of defeat. There may be an argument about how those books are real, but I find little value in reading them. It is more beneficial for me to read works not written from that point of view.

As the reader develops a connection with the characters and the general vibe of the book, these books evoke a sense of comfort. They help establish a sense of belonging. And that helps to balance out the feeling of dread that comes with being alone and isolated. Such books are not depressing in the least. They are, in fact, quite uplifting. They help one embrace their sense of uniqueness.

Being alone gives room for self-discovery. Void of external influences, one can truly understand oneself and figure out what is essential. If one cuts off the televisions during any normal time, one would still hear about the news during the day from others. However, during a lockdown, this happens only to a small extent.

Similarly, other forces such as religion that aim to impose a specific social order have faded into the background to a much higher degree than before. Sure, one can access anything over the internet. Still, with the lack of unwanted exposure to every opinion, one is more likely to work out their original thoughts and meaning.

Being alone, there aren’t people around to judge us. This allows one to be truly authentic, as there is no pressure to meet anyone’s expectations. The only expectation that we need to meet is the ones that we set for ourselves. Hence, isolation can be a good thing that is closely linked to growth.

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