Loneliness: The Cure
Published on Friday, March 25, 2011 - 10:59am
In high school my favorite books were not One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or A Clockwork Orange, but Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. This was around the same time that I was into the Cure (a curiously relevant moniker) and the Smiths. Maybe it was a not-all-the-way-goth phase that pushed me toward these moody places—Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Soft Cell, The Sisters of Mercy, Cocteau Twins. You get the picture, especially if you were there. Everything was covered, at least conceptually, in dark red velvet and black eyeliner.
The images in Jane Eyre I hold onto, brooding and gloomy as they often are, made me feel warmer somehow. Maybe as an adolescent it was just nice to know that other people, even centuries ago, sought escape from the hassle of a confusing, wearisome world, through art and literature. Young Jane, curled up, half-hiding behind thick draperies and reading next to the window as a rainstorm raged outside—not so different that those nights staring out the window listening to The Cure’s "Prayers for Rain."
Whether she knows it or not, the author/artist capable of stirring up these feelings has a great deal of healing power—conjuring melancholy for curing minor melancholia. There are certain gifts you can just never give away, and loneliness is one of them. And while loneliness might not seem like a gift, it is useful in the arts if it can bring people together and, ironically, make us feel less alone.
- Jane Eyre (of course)
- Wuthering Heights (by Charlotte Brontë’s sister, Emily)
- The Mill on the Floss
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