Are You Lonely or Are You Alone?

HAT for TAD Study Guide


Below are five questions that use the movie to explore our own lives and perceptions. This exploration focuses on being alone and being lonely. What are the differences?

  1. Jesus was alone in the wilderness for forty days, where he faced temptation and finally was cared for by angels (1). Tad is not Jesus, but he is a person, made in the likeness and after the nature of God, who is alone in his own wilderness.
    1. Is Tad being tested or tempted?
    2. Who gives him a helping hand?
    3. Consider who or what the Hat represents.
    4. What might Tad's sister and his girlfriend represent?

  2. What is the value of solitude? Thomas Merton was a hermit for many years, but in the latter days of his life he traveled among people extensively. He said his time alone allowed him to appreciate interacting and sharing with friends (2).
    1. What is the difference between loneliness and being alone (solitude).
    2. Have you had a period of being alone in your life and what were its consequences?

  3. Tad talks at length about the "Ladies of Paris" and how he never saw them. From Francis of Assisi to Eckhart Tolle, authors have spoken about the value of being in the present moment (3, 4).
    1. How did Tad bring the “Ladies of Paris” into his “present moment?”
    2. How did he bring the hat into his present awareness.
    3. Are there things you have not noticed and how did you bring them into your present awareness.
    4. Do concerns about the past or the future keep you from seeing the present?

  4. Tad put a lot of energy into his street sweeping vocation and his propane tank gauge. Viktor Frankl said that we strive to bring meaning to our lives, and when we can see a purpose and order in our daily existence, we can stay, or become, sane (5).
    1. Does Tad’s street sweeping and his gauge give meaning to his life?
    2. Have you a routine or ritual, and what do you gain from it?

  5. Tad declares that he is not alone, but when asked about being alone, he responds, "Of course not. you're here." Jesus also says, "Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." (6).
    1. Tad is referring to the Hat in his speech and not God, but what is the metaphor here?
    2. Are you ever truly alone?

  1. Mat 4:1-4:11, The World English Bible,, accessed 2006.
  2. Merton, T. The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1988.
  3. St. Francis of Assisi: Writings and Early Biographies: English Omnibus of the Sources for the Life of St. Francis, edited by Marion A. Habig, 3rd Edition, Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1973.
  4. Tolle, E. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Novato, CA: New World Library, 1999.
  5. Frankl, V. E. Man’s Search for Meaning. New York: Bantam Books, 1959.
  6. Joh 16:32, The World English Bible,, accessed 2006.
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