Bohemian Monks

"My father and mother were captives in that world, knowing they did not belong with it or in it, and yet unable to get away from it. They were in the world but not of it--not because they were saints, but in a different way: because they were artists."

~Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain, Harcourt, 1998, p. 3.

Here Merton, the writer, presages in a mirror his own struggles as an artist who, by the end of this journey, will also be trying to detach himself from the world by entering the cloister. Both the monk and the artist enact a bohemian refusal of "success" as dictated by bourgeois expectations.