I read Kafka’s The Castle years ago. The isolation I felt for the character K. (the main character in The Castle, as in Araby by Joyce, isn’t given a name) is the same as what I feel for the character in Araby and for Prufrock from Eliot’s story.
The thing about isolation is that it is selfish and it really is lazy. It takes little or no effort to be isolated. On the other hand, caring for others and being in community takes effort and self-will. This is, if we are talking about truth and morality, what is different between isolation and community. It is a conscious choice to desire and will to be either selfish or selfless.
Deciding to be and act like a noble hero of ancient literature or a self-absorbed nobody of modern literature is a conscientious and deliberate decision. In large part, our decision has to do with whether we chose to believe and have faith in a Creator who instills beauty and grace in an otherwise broken universe, or we chose to believe and have faith in ourselves with a hope that we can find happiness and contentment in our own minds and hearts.
In my faith, I believe that we find beauty and grace in a community of faith in God. It can take some effort and it can be difficult, but when I compare it to the desolation and isolation of those who attempt to find happiness in themselves, I see no comparison.
Of course, we all were once desolate and isolated, yes? But God in Christ gave us direction on how to escape the loneliness of self by learning, in faith, to be invested in others. Jesus is our example.