This place where she worked certainly didn’t make it look as if she continued to believe her calling was to change the course of American history. The building’s rusted fire escape would just come down, just come loose from its moorings and crash onto the street, if anyone stepped on it - a fire escape whose function was not to save lives in the event of a fire but to uselessly hang there testifying to the immense loneliness inherent to living. For him it was stripped of any other meaning - no meaning could make better use of that building. Yes, alone we are, deeply alone, and always, in store for us, a layer of loneliness even deeper. There is nothing we can do to dispose of that. No, loneliness shouldn’t surprise us, as astonishing to experience as it may be. You can try turning yourself inside out, but all you are then is inside out and lonely instead of inside in and lonely.
—Philip Roth, American Pastoral (pg. 225-226)