Dorothy Day Response Paper

Submitted By Yung-Lixin
Words: 1672
Pages: 7

What audience did Dorothy Day have in mind when writing her autobiography? Who was she trying to reach and what was her message?
Reading through The Long Loneliness, I got a sense that she was writing her autobiography for the general public. I don’t believe Dorothy Day wrote her book in hopes of directing it to any audience in particular which can be seen through one of her quotes: “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community” (The Long Loneliness 286). In fact, this quote makes me firmly believe that this book was written with hopes that its readers would be able to relate to at least some of the feelings and events mentioned in it.
The Long Loneliness tracks most of Dorothy Day’s life, be it her days of childhood full of searching and desires, fear of the unknown, or her teenage years filled with the scent of first love and loneliness of separation. However, it was during her adulthood and parenting where I believe she began experiencing balance in her life. Dorothy set off on the journey to fulfill her dreams and believes, while still going through times of loneliness, emptiness, sorrow and pain. I believe the message she was trying to convey to the reader is that no matter how hard it might seem, we should not be isolating ourselves from humanity and the divinity of God. We should instead be trying to follow the path that would bring us closer to God while also looking out for ways to better the society around us. I find the quote “…we must and will find Christ in each and every man, when we look on them as brothers” (The Long Loneliness 216) to be very reflective of Dorothy’s message. From my perspective, it feels like she was trying to say that being Christian alone is not enough. Our mission as Christians is to spread the word of peace, forgiveness and love to those around us; this also links with the first quote mentioned, “Love comes with community.” For Dorothy Day, community was an answer to her ongoing life struggle of loneliness that is mentioned throughout her autobiography. Now, Dorothy Day does not mean basic community of just a family. She views community as “one of the attractions of religious life, a community of families, with a combination of private and communal property” (The Long Loneliness 224). In other words, a community of people who share common values, who are willing to receive and give help when needed, followers of same faith, children of God.
With one word, pick a theme for Dorothy Day’s life. Elaborate on your word choice and supply instances that support your choice. If I had to attach a one-word theme to the life of Dorothy Day, I would have to go with struggle. Taking it at face value, it might seem like it would apply to just about anyone with a connotation of life being a struggle in it of itself. However, the reason I specifically picked it as a theme for Dorothy Day’s life is because I believe that in this case, struggle has much more meaning behind it. She starts of by giving us an insight to her life that most if not everyone can relate to in one way or the other Such an example would be, “I believed yet was afraid of nothingness” (The Long Loneliness 20). This means that in spite of being a believer, there was still fear of darkness and death. More examples include her first crush as a teenager and separation from family when she wanted to become independent; all those things are experienced by many and might be considered as struggles of life. In other words, she starts us off with something we can easily relate to. Then she begins to dive into some “heavier-to-process” material, which is why I decided to theme her life as struggle. There were times she faced controversies, criticism and jail time for her ideas and the way she expressed them. This isn’t something many people would willingly do, especially being a woman in that time period. Other instances being how much she gave up for