The Soloist By Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, Jr.

920 Words4 Pages

Imagine being so scared it is no longer possible to function in society. Imagine giving up everything in order to keep from hurting loved ones. Imagine pushing belongings around in a shopping cart because trying to treat an incurable disease is worse than living alone on the streets. In Steve Lopez’s The Soloist, an unlikely friendship sparks between a homeless schizophrenic and a journalist for the LA Times. The former Juilliard student, and the subject of Lopez’s articles, Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, Jr., uses music as his escape from the mental anguish and confusion in his daily life on the streets. Music is powerful. It connects people. Music is both a medicine and a passion. It can communicate feelings and sensations, and can heal the mind …show more content…

“He doesn’t appear to be playing for money, which seems strange for a homeless guy. He plays as if he’s a student, oblivious to everyone around him, and this is a practice session” (3). Lopez illustrates Ayers’ dedication to his music. Ayers plays out of a pure love for classical music and does not feel the need to prove himself to others. Ayers gets more out of a single note than most people get out of an entire song. He uses his music as an escape to temporarily reclaim his sanity from the chaos in his life.
Lopez emphasizes Ayers’ special connection with classical music. He also shows how much he has learned from his friendship with Ayers:
One hundred and twenty-five years after Tchaikovsky created this music, Nathaniel has given it to me, making it new again. I understand the peace it brings him, a constant amid the chaos in a language he speaks. I know the opening phrase and the way it humbles and inspires. I know the neat footwork in the second movement’s waltz, and I see Nathaniel dancing to it with his bass, up in the window of the old hotel. (251)
Ayers shares his love of music with Lopez, which allows their friendship to grow stronger. Lopez learns a lot from Ayers. He is able to appreciate music in a new way. Ayers’ music helps him, and now that he has someone to share it with he can enjoy it even

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