Pain of Isolation College

Notes from Underground written by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Grendel written by John Gardner are both novels which contain characters who suffer immensely as the novel progresses. Notes from Underground is a novel about a man, deprived of beneficial social interactions, who is trying to relate the world to European literature but is failing completely. The novel Grendel reflects Grendel’s twelve years at war and his inability to accept the beauty of the human mind. What both of these characters are suffering from is leading to their isolation from the rest of the world and this is ultimately their weakness. “Why, we don’t even know where this “real life” lives nowadays, what it really is, and what it’s called. Leave us alone without books and we’ll get confused and lose our way at once—we won’t know what to join, what to hold on to, what to love or what to hate, what to respect or what to despise” (Dostoevsky 91). This is a perfect example of the underground man choosing to isolate himself from society and contemplate all the things that could happen if humans were left alone without books. He is choosing to suffer by trying to figure this out because it does nothing but frustrate him. “I understood that the world was nothing; a...

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