‘We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life’.

Inspired by the study of Marina Keegan in her IB Standard Level classes, Alice Frost reflects on Keegan’s work below. 

The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of short stories and essays, written by Marina Keegan, who was a graduate of Yale University, and she wrote about a great variety of subjects, in particular, she explored and captured the life and hope of a young person of her generation.

The Opposite of Loneliness, which was penned for the Yale Daily News, particularly inspired many members of our class. Keegan speaks about concepts of possibility, youth, ambition but also uncertainty and the struggles that her and others in her generation face ahead of them.

A great focus in The Opposite of Loneliness is the concept of time and youth and their association with possibility, for instance where she wrote: “The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.’

These few lines encapsulate Keegan’s inspirational thoughts about overcoming the pressures that the youth of this generation face; the seemingly inevitable unemployment, the inability to ‘succeed’ and even the fear of what comes next. She reminds us that, despite the intimidating future that we have ahead of us, there are also countless opportunities, offering us time to pursue the careers and lifestyles that we have aspired to in all of our youthful years.

Keegan also demonstrates her talent in her fictional writing, with short stories on subjects ranging from the jealousy within young relationships, the experiences of a young man surrounded by war, and even the life of people trapped thousands of feet beneath the sea-surface, unsure of whether they will see light again.

Within these short stories and essays you are able to see Keegan’s emotional honesty and intelligence, her drive and determination and her demonstration of resilience. Unfortunately, her writing is tinged with tragedy, following her death, just five days after her graduation.

You can read her work here: http://theoppositeofloneliness.com/

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