Negative Effects Of Solitude (Nighthawks by Edward Hopper Analysis)



One piece of art that has surprised and simultaneously unsettled me was Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. It was painted in 1942 and yet I feel it still touches on something that I believe most Americans have a hard time understanding: solitude can be detrimental. I have found that most Americans, or at least the ones I’ve become familiar with, are plagued with this idea of self-satisfaction. They, and I, were raised to believe that independence is key to becoming successful and happy but I believe that Hopper’s vision takes a stance against that belief. Nighthawks, like some of his other paintings, show solitude in a way that makes it seem cold and lonely, as if this desire for self-assurance encapsulates each and every one of us until it feels like the only person in the room that matters is you.

I have always valued my independence but more recently I’ve discovered my passion for connecting with others. I may not be the most social or outgoing person, but I’m smart enough to recognize that sharing a life with others is much more challenging and rewarding than fighting the good fight alone. Every person has a unique story and voice that needs to be heard and, in my opinion, this narrative of independent success doesn't foster human connection. I'd rather succeed with the help of others than make myself miserable in my own little bubble.

That feeling that Hopper created from a few strokes of paint has shifted my perspective on how I interact with others and that, I believe, is truly inspiring.