Marina’s final essay for The Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” became an instant global sensation, viewed by more than 1.4 million people from 98 countries. Introduction The following questions are intended for a variety of audiences—the members of a book group, students in a college seminar or upper-level high school class, or individual readers taking time for further reflection.Some questions address the larger motivations behind Marina Keegan’s work; some examine technical, structural, or thematic elements within her prose; some consider her legacy as an activist pushing her readers to take action; some focus on the young woman now so dearly missed.Marina Keegan (1989-2012) was an award-winning author, journalist, playwright, poet, actress, and activist.
Marina’s final essay for The Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” became an instant global sensation, viewed by more than 1.4 million people from 98 countries. Introduction The following questions are intended for a variety of audiences—the members of a book group, students in a college seminar or upper-level high school class, or individual readers taking time for further reflection.
Do you worry that you need to compromise your own dreams for practical concerns? What do her jealousy and the confessed objects of her jealousy reveal? In pieces like “Why We Care about Whales,” “Putting the ‘Fun’ Back in Eschatology,” and “Song for the Spe- cial,” Keegan shares her concerns for the planet and the entire human race.
She admits, “I worry sometimes that humans are afraid of helping humans” (p.
In addition to these examples of physical blindness, which stories include characters metaphorically blind to what lies before them? Specific mentions of Keats, Swan Lake, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Othello, Islamic architecture, Shakespeare, Monet’s lilies, Hemingway, Milton, and libraries appear throughout this collection.
How do these scholarly and artistic references enhance the more informal tone of Keegan’s prose? The last paragraphs of individual stories are worth careful examination and rereading.
What does young love have that more mature love lacks, and what does mature love offer that is missing in young love? Despite the collection’s youthful energy, many readers have also found Keegan’s voice to be entirely universal, the offerings of an old soul. This image also evokes the sense of fleeting time Keats addresses in “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” a poem that in “Cold Pastoral” Claire is taught has “tragedy . Is living with an appreciation of time’s swift passage ultimately empowering or limiting? Keegan’s stories and characters employ many light moments and quick one-liners. The inability to see is central to both “Reading Aloud” and “Challenger Deep,” while the narrator in “The Art of Observation” initially relishes being looked at and photo- graphed before she flips roles and snaps a picture of the woman who had been watching her.
When does her humor emerge to shift the tone or underline her message? How does Keegan’s writing make use of the senses—both visual and nonvi- sual—to make the reader’s experience more powerful?
She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker.
Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.
As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation.
The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina’s essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.