Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
JANE WHITAKER SAYS "SOUL-HUNGER IS ONLY ;
A FANCY NAME FOR SELFISHNESS"
BY JANE WHITAKER
"You have written a few times about loneliness and I fell that you un
derstand what a terrible thing it is. I am so lonely that I am almost desper
ate and with the most terrible form of loneliness soul hunger. I am mar
ried but my husband does not seem to understand me. He is generous and
kind, but we live on different planes. I have two children, but they are so
very young that it seems as if it will be an eternity before I can gain com
panionship from them. Is there any more terrible form of loneliness than
to have people around one who do not understand?"
That is a letter which came to me a few days ago. If it is read by some,
girl who is in Chicago alone, working in an office where there are no other
1 girls or where the girls are not companionable; living in a furnished room
&, where the only sound is the ticking of the clock, that girl will smile, and
And if the" writer of this letter had not said she suffered with soul
hunger I should have been tempted by my very knowledge of what loneli
ness means to believe she must have been jesting when she wrote to me.
But "soul-hunger" is a term many women and a few men use to cover
what they believe to be their mental isolation from those with whom
they are surrounded, and the real eve'ry-day name of soul-hunger is "selfish
ness." Dear little lady who thinks she is lonely, there are thousands of women .
who would envy you just the possession of a man who picked you out of a
worm of women to take care of, to
be his companion. And there are
thousands of vpmen "who have hus
bands and yet would still envy you
because of your children.
You say you live on a different
plane from your husband. As a mat
ter of fact, we all live in the same
world, surrounded by the same kind
of people with each and every one
some weaknesses similar to our own.
And when we say that we are not un
derstood it means merely that we do
It QmmHc Titm intoroafincr tn cm?
(T(B that we are not understood; it gives
UD a. ICCUllg LUill we uc BUUiCUUW
.different, somehow more complex
than those around us, and it leads
us into peculiarities that do perplex
, tnose wno love us, out at tne Dottom
it is but sham and selfishness.
:r The moment we feel that we are
not unaerstooa, just mat moment we
should go into a quiet room and have
it out with ourselves and discover
What is the matter not with the
rest of the world but with ourselves. 1 you never again could hear him tell
Why is it that we do not harmonize
with life? Is it that we are selfish,
or unsympathetic, or self-centered?
And after an hour of plain talking
to oneself, after an hour sitting be
fore a mirror where one's eyes look i
honestly into the eyes reflected there,, a
we will know that we were at fault,
and after that it is only a matter otxt
vigilance and the fault is corrected
and we are in harmony with life.3
Be honest with yourself, little lady
who suffers with soul-hunger. Shut
yourself in a room and look into your
own eyes in the mirror. Ask your-n
self what you would do if the hus-r
band who is generous and kind but j
does not understand you, were to be
taken out of your life? If he were
to be brought home to you dead?
If you never again could see his
satisfied smile as he watches you
ministering to the children; if you
never again could tell him the trivial' ,
things of the day that annoy you, ifw