Why would any of this matter? Evidently, Knight took being a hermit not as an act of faith, heroism or any kind of a moral stand — he did it simply to get away from people. To not work with them, to not be with them, to not talk to them, etc. Why should he then adhere to all the societal ideas about hermiting that want to first force a noble standard upon him, and then judge him by not living up to that standard? That’s exactly the artificial nonsense one doesn’t want in their lives when they leave. Judging a non-societal livelihood from the societal pov is contextually irrelevant, and can not, in any way, undermine his practice.
In Dickinson’s poems, stones represent immutability and finality: unlike flowers or the light of day, stones remain essentially unchanged. The speaker in “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers” ( 216 ) imagines the dead lying unaffected by the breezes of nature—and of life. After the speaker chooses her soul in “The Soul selects her own Society—” ( 303 ), she shuts her eyes “Like Stone—” ( 12 ), firmly closing herself off from sensory perception or society. A stone becomes an object of envy in “How happy is the little Stone” ( 1510 ), a poem in which the speaker longs for the rootless independence of a stone bumping along, free from human cares.