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Quest for Meaning

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  1. Quest for Meaning

  2. Effects of WWII • Shock and disillusion • Alienation & anxiety • Loss of faith • Pessimism – dystopian novels

  3. Minute Essay • How is A Brave New World an example of the new genre of dystopian novels?

  4. Existentialism and Freedom

  5. Existentialism • “We are what we choose to be, we create both ourselves and our freedom by our every choice.” • Basic philosophy

  6. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) • “first of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards, defines himself” • Background

  7. Sartre’s Philosophy • Being and Nothingness (1943) • Existence precedes essence • Human beings have no fixed nature • Born as body/matter • Balance

  8. Christian Existentialism

  9. Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) • “If we choose faith we must suspend our reason in order to believe in something higher than reason. In fact we must believe by virtue of the absurd.” • Continuing moral responsibility for our lives

  10. Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) Gabriel Marcel (1889-1973) • God challenges human begins to act as free and responsible creatures.

  11. Literature at the Mid-Century

  12. New kind of hero • Anti-hero • Inspired by Sartre • Alienated • Making choices in a world with no moral absolutes

  13. Albert Camus (1913-1960) • The Stranger (1942) • Meursault (main character) • Follows death of mother to his death for killing someone

  14. Arthur Miller • Death of a Salesman (1949) • Anti-hero with American feeling

  15. Theater of the Absurd • Reject dramatic structure & character development • General style • Lots of gallows humor • Unrealistic, grotesque situations

  16. Waiting for Godot (1948) • Samuel Beckett • Who is Godot?

  17. Poetry at Mid-Century

  18. T.S. Eliot • 1888-1965 • Theme of alienation • Background • General Style

  19. Dylan Thomas • 1914-1953 • Background • Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night(1951)

  20. Existentialism Game

  21. "Man does not discover values; he creates them."

  22. “I think therefore I am.”

  23. “Equally important are mystery, ambiguity, illogical contradiction, and transcendent experience."

  24. "All essential knowledge relates to existence, or only such knowledge as has an essential relationship to existence is essential knowledge."

  25. "Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

  26. “The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them.”

  27. “Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

  28. "Recognize your own dignity as a human being"

  29. “Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.”

  30. "Do not wait for the last judgment. It comes every day."

  31. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.”

  32. "You need to make a leap of faith.”

  33. "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance."

  34. "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."

  35. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”