The Manifestation of Solitude in the Fiction of Thornton Wilder
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
The study is a descriptive analysis of the constitution of solitude in three novels by Thornton Wilder: The Cabala, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and The Eighth Day. A method of phenomenological close reading is used to explore immanent text-structures. The investigation lets the novels illuminate themselves by showing how each of the literary works has its own way of bringing specific forms of solitude to light. The essay discovers in The Cabala a mode of solitude that mainly deals with personal loneliness as something that fragile individuals undergo when exposed to adversity or isolation. It is found that The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a text of a different order. Here solitude involves feelings that are not limited to character and relational matters. The essay shows that these more spacious modes of solitude state something about human life as such. Solitude is seen as a metaphysical factor of existence rather than as a mere problem in an individual or milieu. In The Eighth Day, finally, solitude is found to be mainly at work on a mid-range level of manifestation that avoids the narrowly character-focussed viewpoint as well as the opposite extreme of metaphysical greatness. On this more balanced, intermediary level the decisive factor at the heart of the constitution of solitude is the mystery of family life as something at once private and sublime.
Keywords: Thornton Wilder, solitude, loneliness, family life, predestination, The Eighth Day, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, The Cabala
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 25 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-77362OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-77362DiVA: diva2:532026
Fawkner, Harold William, PhD