The Soloist by Steven Lopez Essay Analysis

Main points:
Tony has a job working for Stuart Robinson and his own apartment.
Steve realizes that he and Tony are true friends.
Tony spends Easter with Steve’s family and they enjoy the holiday together with Steve’s wife and daughter.
Steve goes to New York to Juilliard and to meet Tony’s classmates and friends.
Tony becomes suddenly angry for her sister going to Los Angeles to be his legal representative who will manage his financial affairs.
Jennifer visits and they all have a good time going around LA.
Tony meets Yo-Yo Ma at a concert.
Tony wants to play music again for a living.
Steve is thankful for his friendship with Tony.

Summary:

In the novel, The Soloist, part 3, Steve helps Tony get a new apartment and to seek medical help. Tony has a job working for Stuart Robinson and he also has his own apartment. Tony enjoys the idea of having the freedom to work, but he hates many things about his apartment because he thinks that people around him are not doing their jobs properly. As Tony becomes more self-reliant, Steve realizes that he and Tony are true friends because they bring out the best from each other. Tony spends Easter with Steve’s family and they enjoy the holiday together with Steve’s wife and daughter. Steve goes to New York to Juilliard and to meet Tony’s classmates and friends. Steve learns how Tony started from being a brilliant student to breaking down from mental illness. He notes how the social conditions of his times can also be large factors in affecting Tony’s mental conditions because of the pressures in Juilliard in being an excellent student and because Tony lives during the time of widespread discrimination against blacks and lack of support for students. Steve talks to Tony about earning his own money and that he needs his sister to be his legal representative. Tony becomes suddenly angry for her sister going to Los Angeles to be his legal representative who will manage his financial affairs. Tony becomes better in time, so Jennifer visits him and they all have a good time going around LA. Tony meets Yo-Yo Ma at a concert. Because he enjoys his time with these famous musicians, Tony wants to play music again for a living. Steve is thankful for his friend’s hip with Tony and the novel ends with Tony never wanting the concert to end.

Personal Response:

Part 3 of The Soloist is truly amazing and I learned a great deal, not only about mental illness but also about human conditions. First, I realized that mental illness can also be a product of harsh social conditions, such as racism and poverty. If a person is already at risk for mental illness because it runs in his family, and there are many social pressures around him, he is most likely to be mentally ill. I think that Tony broke down because his life’s circumstances are just too much for him to handle. I blame society too for his mental illness. Second, I feel the love in Steve and Tony’s friendship. In the book, it says: “If a friend is someone who inspires, who challenges, who sends you in search of some truer sense of yourself, Nathaniel is indeed a friend” (Lopez 197). That is exactly what a friend is to me too. A friend is someone who is there for you. He or she is not in your life to let you become worse as a person but to motivate you to be the best that you can be. A friend is like a guardian angel that prays for you and loves you so that you can love yourself more. I love this book and I enjoyed it because it opened my eyes to the life of the mentally ill and the friendships that it formed.

Questions:

Why is society a cause for mental illness?
How can an ordinary person help the mentally ill re-integrate into the community?

Vocabulary:

Transgression- an act that is against the law or social/cultural/religious norms
Malaise- a feeling of illness or anxiety and which has a cause that cannot be easily determined