Amy Stimson

Loneliness in Marilynne Robinson’s Jack

By Amy Stimson

I once read a story about a man scurrying furtively home from work, and trying not to draw attention to himself. He hears a group of people call derisively after him in a language he doesn’t understand. He passes a racial slur in graffiti on the wall of his building. As he hunkers down to his family meal in a squalid, noisy apartment, he reflects on his beautiful home (a place of familiar languages, and of plenty), and the tickets in his pocket that will finally take them back. I can’t remember the name of the story, but I remember how well it caused me to imagine the insecurity and the unhomeliness of this man’s life as a refugee.

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