The Long Loneliness

by Dorothy Day

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Student Question

Does Dorothy Day live an intellectual life in "The Long Loneliness"?

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Dorothy Day lived the intellectual life in that she was very much a woman for whom ideas were important.

At various points in her life, Dorothy was a radical, a Communist, and a proponent of Social Catholicism. Ideas were clearly a very important part of her life, as they were for many people in the early part of the twentieth century. But unlike some intellectuals, she was keen, wherever possible, to put those ideas into practice.

That's what she did when she started the Catholic Worker movement. This was her way of living her ideas, of showing commitment to a philosophy of life that involved helping some of the poorest, most marginalized members of society.

Insofar as she remained fascinated by ideas, Dorothy could be said to have lived the intellectual life. But the most important part of her life, that devoted to helping others, though it had its roots in the ideas that shaped her, nonetheless transcended them. In doing so, they made a difference to Dorothy's life and to so many others.

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