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being alone, feeling alone 30

May 1, 2017

So far, the novel addresses, among other ideas, the notion of being alone.  Stephen writes about this in the very early part of the novel. When Stephen asks why Matsu took him to visit Sachi, Matsu explains “so you would know that you’re not alone” (30).  This response makes me wonder if there’s a meaningful difference between being alone and feeling alone.  I think I can be alone without feeling alone.  Can you? Does this distinction make any sense to you?  If so, how do you see Stephen so far–with regards to these two conditions?  What does Matsu mean with his answer to Stephen?

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11 Comments
  1. I think it is definitley possible to be alone and not feel alone or to not be alone and feel alone. The distinction makes sense because you could be in a room of people that you don’t know and you may feel alone because you don’t know anybody, yet you are in a room full of people. Stephen was feeling alone but Matsu showed him that physically he was not even if he felt like he was mentally.

  2. Tatiana Milo permalink

    I think that being alone without feeling alone does make sense, and so does not being alone and feeling alone. In the beginning of the book, Stephen feels like he is alone once he travels to live with Matsu because he is no longer with his family. But as the book continues, Stephen no longer feels alone like he used to because he has bonded with Matsu, and he has met new people who show interest and relate to him. This helps him get over the loneliness that he feels, and he learns to like being alone because he knows that he is not actually alone. Matsu tells stephen “so you would know that you’re not alone” (30) once he introduces him to Sachi because he knows that Stephen feels alone since he is away from his family, and that he feels secluded because he is different from other people. Stephen is sad because he can’t bond with other people because of his illness, and matsu wanted to show him that he is not the only person that feels that way. So he introduces him to Sachi, who Stephen can relate to, and help him get over the loneliness he feels.

  3. Natalie Spingler permalink

    I believe that there is a distinction between being alone and feeling alone. For instance one can feel alone when in a crowd of people, just as how when one is alone, they don’t feel as if they are alone. So far I see Stephen as feeling very alone, but he isn’t totally alone because he is living with Matsu. He feels more alone because he had just left his old life and his only connection is with Matsu and Sachi, but those are very weak connections so far. I think that Sachi is also feels alone, so Matsu introduced the two to show both of them that they aren’t as alone as they think they are.

  4. Mary Claire Smith permalink

    I think I can be alone without feeling alone. Can you? Does this distinction make any sense to you? If so, how do you see Stephen so far–with regards to these two conditions? What does Matsu mean with his answer to Stephen?

    I think it is very possible to feel alone even when in a crowd of people. Loneliness is not just the absence of beings around you, though it very well can be, but it is more the lack of people around you who genuinely care about and want to know you. Speaking from personal experience, loneliness can be felt anywhere, in fact, I have felt the most lonely when surrounded by the most people. It has a reverse-effect in that the more people around, the more it serves as a reminder of how isolated one feels. When Stephen first moves to Tamuchi, he does not know anyone or feel close to any person in the town. Though his physical body may have been surrounded with people, his mind and heart still felt as though he was alone. He also felt that he was letting his family down because he was isolated away from them. I think that Matsu is trying to show him that, even though he may feel alone, there are still people out there that care for him. He also shows him that Sachi, who has been isolated away from her whole family and to the naked eye would seem alone, is not by herself in life. If Sachi can make the most out of her life, despite her many challenges, then Stephen will see just how loved and supported he is.

  5. Blake Ainsworth permalink

    It is possible to be alone without feeling alone. I can be at my house alone by myself while my parents working. But that doesn’t mean I feel alone. I know that they care about me the same even if they are not in the room. Feeling alone is when you think there is no one who cares for you. Stephan feels that he is alone because he is sick and does not know anybody in Tarumi. But Matsu shows Stephen that he is not the only injured/sick person and that there are people in Tarumi that care for him.

  6. Jeff Klopfenstein permalink

    So far, the novel addresses, among other ideas, the notion of being alone. Stephen writes about this in the very early part of the novel. When Stephen asks why Matsu took him to visit Sachi, Matsu explains “so you would know that you’re not alone” (30). This response makes me wonder if there’s a meaningful difference between being alone and feeling alone. I think I can be alone without feeling alone. Can you? Does this distinction make any sense to you? If so, how do you see Stephen so far–with regards to these two conditions? What does Matsu mean with his answer to Stephen?

    I think someone can be alone and not feel it but also feel alone around others. For me, I enjoy time alone to think, read, or watch TV in which I don’t feel alone but rather peaceful and enjoyable. This time by myself does not make me miss the presence of others but actually makes me appreciate some quiet time away from all the stresses of daily life. I believe that stress levels can be easily reduced through a little alone time to gather thoughts and think of different ways to go forward in the events of your upcoming life. I think Stephen, although sometimes he gets homesick, really enjoys and needs this peaceful time at Tarumi for a complete recovery from his illness. His ability to take a quiet swim, enjoy painting a garden, or engaging in small talk with Matsu is a better remedy for his illness that any doctor could prescribe. Matsu means in his answer that there are other people who are separated from their loved ones (Sachi) and that Stephen does have friends that he can talk to and engage with in Tarumi.

  7. Dylan Jones permalink

    It is possible to feel alone and be alone, and be alone without feeling alone. Yes, this distinction makes since. Being alone is more of a physical state, and feeling alone is more of a mental state. Feeling alone is more like feeling as if no on is there to support. It feels as if friends and family do not understand your situation. Being alone is more like being in a room by yourself. Stephen is shown the physical state, which is being alone, when Matsu takes him to meet Sachi.

  8. Brooke Lindner permalink

    Stephan has a sickness that is very contagious, which is the reason for his visit to Tamarui. He came to be here alone so that he wouldn’t spread his disease anymore and hurt others. When he meets Sachi he realizes that she has the same problem of moving away from society to “protect” others. Matsu wants Stephan to know that there are others there that feel the same way he does. I think that I can be alone without feeling alone, because a lot of times I feel I just need time to myself to think and reflect upon things in my life. If you are constantly with others you are only focused on the topics between the two of you and you can’t take time to just reflect on your own thoughts. So far Stephan has realized that he can be alone with himself to paint and focus on what makes him happy. But throughout his time in Tamuraui he begins to meet people that he immediately likes, which draws him away from isolation. When he meets Sachi he immediately connects with her because they both feel isolated from society. Matsu means for Stephan to not try to be completely alone in this time of hardship but to allow support from others and open up to new friends and ideas.

  9. Max Armstrong permalink

    I believe there is a definite difference from feeling alone and physically feeling alone. It is perfectly possible to not feel alone and be alone. A person, such as myself, can go fishing about all day by himself and feel at peace, not alone. I believe, in a spiritual sense, that a person can never be alone. He will always be accompanied by passed loved ones or is surrounded by creation of the Lord, meaning that He is always around and with you. So people can and should be comforted by this. A person will only feel alone when he over looks his surroundings and forgets about the Man upstairs. Stephen does, in a sense, feel alone and lonely. That is why he became so excited to see his father, but as he realized the peace that surrounded him he began to feel calmed away from the city life and take in the serene nature of Tarumi. Also, by seeing Sachi and her misfortunate circumstance allowed him to relate to her on how they are essentially both by themselves. Matsu means that Stephen, although alone, has others outside of himself that are less fortunate than him and in the same sort of lonely situation. So, it was a phrase that was meant to comfort Stephen by relating him to her and also make him feel appreciation for the life he has.

  10. Ellie Rousseau permalink

    I defiantly think you can be alone without feeling alone, but you also can be completely surrounded by people and feel lonely. The definition of the word lonely is “sad because one had no friends of company.” Loneliness is not about having people around you, but rather having people who genuinely care about you that you can talk to. I think that Stephen is lonely, he has been ripped away from his family and friends. He has no one to talk to besides Matsu and the occasional visits from his father, but that is not enough. I think that Matsu means Stephen is not alone in feeling alone. Sachi also feels that way, she has so many people in her village, but no one that genuinely cares about her. I think that Sachi and Stephen will really be able to relate in their feelings of loneliness and I can’t wait to see how their relationship progresses.

  11. Stephen is dealing with a disease that has crippled him. It is contagious and under these circumstances nobody could be in the same room with him including his family. Despite the fact the was home with his family, he was lonely. I believe that you can be alone without being lonely but also that you can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. Loneliness is when nobody around you cares about you or what you do. Stephen’s loneliness increases when he leaves his old life and travels to Taurumi. Here he becomes more lonely since Matsu is his only company. However, Matsu is able to show him that he isn’t the only one. Matsu takes Stephen to Sachi, who is suffering from leprosy. Sachi lives by herself and despite receiving visits from Matsu still feels lonely. But, she has found out how to make the most it and its starting to rub off on Stephen who immediately feels comfortable with her because they are going through similar issues.

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