Comparison of "Surfacing" and "Picture of Dorian Gray"

Essay by CaptainRWCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2002

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Solitude is the pathway to self-discovery. Indeed, one of the most difficult tasks in life is to choose the correct path to find one's self, and to affirm where one stands amidst the crowd. Among the numerous paths that can be taken in life, there are often those that lead to nowhere. These "paths to nowhere," are found in the road maps belonging to those who travel in pairs, and follow others, but are not found in the guidebooks of those who travel alone. The nameless protagonist of Surfacing and the protagonist, Dorian

Gray, of The Picture of Dorian Gray both choose similar paths in life. They choose a road of selfishness by detaching themselves from the rest of the world and basically becoming completely unemotional to others. Both characters choose not to care about anyone else but themselves, and are eventually left standing alone, denied of any contact with others around them.

When the nameless woman and Dorian Gray are left by themselves, they are finally able to discover their true being within. Only when one is left in contact solely with their inner being can one surely conquer the most difficult task in life, finding one's self.

The protagonists of both novels start along their chosen avenues in life with people by their sides. They rely on their friends to help them search for what they are missing or have lost. The nameless woman is in search of her missing father, and Dorian Gray needs to find his place in the world of upper class men as well as a woman to love and marry. It is unknown to these characters from the very beginning of their journeys that, in fact, what they are both looking for is their souls buried deep within them. They need to find...