René Israel Jiménez González, A01380325
Art and Comparative Modern Literature, 5th semester
Sep. 02, 2013
First partial essay: Deeper and harder than solitude: social isolation.
Octavio Paz, in one of his most famous works, "The Labyrinth of Solitude", defined solitude as "the profoundest fact of the human condition". He also stated that we are "the only being who knows he is alone". However, while loneliness is often temporary, true social isolation tends to last years or decades as a chronic condition.According to the Cambridge handbook of personal relationships, social isolation concerns "the objective characteristics of a situation and refers to the absence of relationships with other people" (Vangelisti, 486). This supposes, obviously, a lack of social support, defined by the book "The Second Fifty Years: Promoting Health and Preventing Disability" as "the resources provided by other persons" (Berg, 243). These resources can be emotional, social, physical or financial forms of care and they have a wide number of sources, e.g. individuals and institutions.As it is observed, the absence of social interaction has a reasonable and obvious influence in the way in which a human being develops. A social network provides help and comfort, but also opportunities to acquire certain resources and to develop a more clear and personal perception of reality.The influence of social isolation in the development of identity can be observed both in the play "La vida es sueño", written by the Spaniard Pedro Calderón de la Barca and in the story "Everyday Use", created by the American author Alice Walker, through the solitude that two of the central characters experienced, making them insecure individuals with a very undefined idea of themselves and their reality, but able to develop a unique identity and strong individuality after an enormous effort.The purpose of this essay is to explain how social isolation affects the psychological development of individuals, by looking at the behavior and comprehension of some of the figures mentioned in both works. To begin, social isolation is deeper and more complex than mere physical loneliness.In this essay, the main cause of social isolation that we observe is the physical remoteness in which an external element impedes a healthy interaction between the individual and society. We can observe evidence of this phenomenon in the situation of Segismundo, which was a prisoner in a tower, by his father's will. "Allí Segismundo vive, mísero, pobre y cautivo, adonde sólo Clotaldo le ha hablado, tratado y visto" (Calderón de la Barca, 32). Segismundo´s captivity meant a minimal connection with society and his surrounding world. When Basilio, Segismundo's father, explains that Segismundo is a prisoner, we understand why he has difficulties with social interactions. The contact with society has been the one strictly necessary and this tends to...