Land of the Lost
The sharp pain of loneliness is part of many people's life circumstance. Loneliness and social isolation may be caused by characteristics of late modernity where individualization, changing relational conditions and changing family forms tends to be some of the reasons. Loneliness and the feeling of being unneeded is indeed the situation for the main character in the short story “Land of the Lost”. (Stewart O’Nan 2009) Who to be? Seems to be a focal question for everyone living in circumstances of late modernity1, where we have the responsibility for making a success of the story of our own life.
The story introduces us to a middle-aged divorced woman with two grown up sons. She has a meaningless job as a cashier. Her relationship to the sons seems superficial. Maybe they are to busy with their own life projects to participate in her life.
The woman gets increasingly focused on finding a local murdered girl. The reader sense that her obsession is rooted in a sense of boredom and loneliness. The woman’s focus and activities keeps her busy in an everyday life that seems to have very little content. The absence of positive social relationships pushes her to extremes in the searching for the girl. In the beginning the woman is determined to find the dead girl out of empathy and compassion for the bereaved grieving mother.
During the story she gets more determined and obsessed. She “rearranges her shifts, working nights ..’’ (P. 8 l. 26) to focus on her task.
She involves FBI in her searching and after not finding the girl she acknowledges that the surroundings thinks she is crazy. This adds to the woman's determination, she has to prove them wrong to maintain her sanity. Loneliness is often the core feeling that gives rise to emotions of worthlessness, resentment and emptiness. Lonely people fear rejection and keep themselves at a distance, which feeds the loneliness. This is clear in this sentence: “She didn't tell anyone what she...