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Alienation in characters and in ourselves

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  1. Introduction
  2. The external and internal limitations
  3. Cathedral
  4. The first dialogue
  5. The narrator's alienation
  6. Robert and the narrator
  7. The narrator's life
  8. The story
  9. Conclusion

Human beings are by nature social creatures. We need to be raised by others, bred by other, and also to live with others. More than one short story this semester dealt with a theme that is the opposite of community- alienation. In the three short stories ?Cathedral,? ?The Man From Mars,? and ?Bad Girls? multiple characters experience feelings of solitude at some point during the story. Because of limitations, both external and internal, the characters of Robert and the narrator in ?Cathedral,? Isaak Drumm and the girls in ?Bad Girls,? and Christine and the man from mars in ?The Man From Mars,? are excluded from their surroundings, from their loved ones, and ultimately from themselves.

[...] Orchid runs into Isaak Drumm in Rochester and we can see what stress and solitude have done to him. ?Isaak Drumm had changed a lot in four years, his hair not in a pompadour now but flat and graying, and his mustache vanished so his face looked raw and exposed, the skin coarser than I remembered, yet the eyes so intense.? Isaak, with tears in his eyes, pleads with Orchid to believe in his innocence which, in her heart I think, she does. [...]

[...] His alienation is also evident in that he speaks English very poorly. make map.? I go with you now.? come to tea.? English is not good, but I improve.? We are left with a good impression of a foreigner who simply struggles with a language barrier. This boy, as a foreigner also suffers from the struggles of cultural barriers. He's a stranger in a strange land. Of course, we learn that this is no excuse for his stalking behavior. It is when he moves back from Montreal that the stalking begins. [...]

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