Elderly people, especially ones who lead mundane and ordinary lives, are rarely central characters in modern literature. Fading
memories, decreased processing speed, hair loss, stubbornness, and early-bird specials are some stereotypes of aging portrayed
in Emily, Alone. Stewart O'Nan's depiction of 80-year-old Emily, however, incorporates so much more. O'Nan tenderly inserts Emily into the
hearts and minds of readers as she struggles with end-of-life issues such as finalizing her will, reconciling with her children,
and feeling isolated. Emily will not be making headlines for her heroism, but through her, readers will experience aspects
of Erikson's final developmental stage with profound clarity.