The theme of isolation is utilized in writing to shape the principal characters and provide a particular vision on some crucial aspects of their identities. Authors such as Nancy Mairs in, “On Being a Cripple” Zora Neale Hurston in, “How it Feels to Be Colored Me” and Sherman Alexie in, “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me”, offer us characterization to set the theme of isolation in their writing. In “On Being a Cripple” Mairs examines the public’s view of the disabled, as well as the views they have of themselves, and compare them to her own. In “How it Feels to Be Colored Me” Hurston discusses how she embraces being a girl of color in a world where people can be very discriminating. In “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” Sherman talks about how reading and writing helped shape his life in a positive way. Every author has their own unique way to express isolation in their writing such as personal experience which provides creditability to the writing and further engages the reader.
Sherman, Zora and Nancy, are the principal characters of each story and are portrayed as
entirely isolated personalities who, despite the different background and different living
conditions, experience similar loneliness and despair. Sherman is an Indian kid who grew up in the Indian Reservation and did not follow the rules that all the Indians had to follow. He mentions that when he states, “A smart Indian is a dangerous person, widely feared and ridiculed by Indians and non-Indians alike” (75). Zora has moved to a new town and is now faced with having to discover how it feels to be black in a world where discrimination is a huge part of society. “I was not Zora of Orange County any more, I was now a little colored girl”(Hurston 168). In this statement Zora is pointing out exactly at which point her isolation began. Similar to Zora, Nancy isolation starts at home and continues in the influencing her identity. She spends all her time trying to make people understand that having MS does not keep her from being who she wants to be. “My world has, of necessity, been circumscribed by my losses, but the terrain…ample enough for me to continue many of the activities that absorb me…” (Mairs 185). In this statement Mairs wants to point out that despite her having MS she can still do what she needs to do to live a normal life. Zora does not have a disability, but people look at her differently because of the color of her skin. All these authors have a personal experience that makes them feel isolated from the rest of the world. What they all have in common is the ability to take their personal isolations and use it in a positive manner. Each of the isolations form as an example to the reader that even with differences and disabilities once can still achieve what they desire in life. Using personal experiences in writing adds a very strong validation to writing that will help the reader connect deeper with the author.