Essays and Stories
The Opposite of Loneliness
Essays and Stories
Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. 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. She had struck a chord.
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.
Marina Keegan and THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS
Reading Group Guide
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. Of course, all of these questions serve only as starting points. The best discussions will occur as you take these prompts in the directions that most fascinate, puzzle, or inspire you.
Questions & Topics for Discussion
1. Marina Keegan wrote the essay “The Opposite of Loneliness” specifically for her Yale graduation in 2012, and the single line “The hats” refers to the college’s Class Day tradition of seniors wearing creative, colorful hats. Yet many readers have found its message to be universal, evoking their own days at college, at camp, or in any other tight-knit community. What makes Keegan’s words apply to any group of people who have found a powerful sense of connection? What would you define as your own personal opposite of loneliness?
2. In “The Opposite of Loneliness,” Keegan insists, “What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can c see more