Sartrean existentialism in the road

Lecture given in Source: Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre, ed.

Sartrean existentialism in the road

Sartrean Existentialism In The Road McCarthy tells the story of a nameless father and son struggling to survive in the aftermath of an apocalyptic happening. Religious elements are deeply interwoven with the text and form much of its basic thematic construction. McCarthy writes with a particular focus on existential themes; paying particular attention to the existentialist views of Sartre, Kierkagaard, and Camus and integrating them deeply into his own text.

It is asserted throughout the novel that God is not actively participating in this environment. Ostensibly the implication is that God did once exist, but is now gone, leaving those few with a discernible Sartrean existentialism in the road of morality to comport themselves ethically, independent of any punishment or reward from God.

The goal of this essay is to examine the role of existentialism in the text, and the extent to which its tenants participated in the decisions of the characters.

There is no essence which precedes historic existence. And, notably for the boy, his conception of historic existence is entirely limited to the world post-apocalyptic happening.

In the novel, any concept of universal humanity has been torn to shreds by the grey sometimes red reality of the Bloodcults and their indulgence in cannibalism and degeneration into animals that trick, trap, and eat their food.

Sartrean existentialism in the road

An integral element of all existentialist philosophies is the affirmation that there is no God. With regards to morality, Sartre pragmatically refers to the concept of God as an a priori. Essentially this a priori is a preexisting moral framework from which an ethical consensus can be derived.

The Theme of Existentialism in Cormac McCarthy's The Road by Talia Marshall on Prezi

Without a discernible heaven from which to derive moral values, humanity is left in a state of complete freedom. The path of the father and son is not predetermined. They are no longer restrained by cultural or societal conventions as these institutions and their fetters are non-existent.

However, their freedom goes beyond the release from social conventions onto a complete freedom from any moral framework.


Clearly the father and son are not the only ones free from social and moral conventions; on the contrary, all of humanity is similarly free. But it is as a result of this freedom and in their distinction from the decisions of the Bloodcults that the true nature of their individual character emerges.

They represent the sole good left in the world. This complete freedom comes at a price. Entailed along with this freedom is the existential concept of complete responsibility. In a universe unsubscribing to the ideology of determinism, complete responsibility falls on the shoulders of the individual in their decision making and its radiating effect.

Sartrean Existentialism in the Road Essay Example for Free The vessel does not halt.
An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers. Sartre, like most of his existentialist colleagues, was too much the individualist to accept the idea of being part of a movement, no matter how exclusive. Both Heidegger and the writer Albert Camus rejected the label, offended by being so linked to Sartre.

In choosing for oneself, one chooses for the whole of humanity. This concept of responsibility is vital to the analysis of this text through an existential lens. It is both a theme deeply woven into the novel and a plausible explanation for the unconventionally moral conduct of the father and son, as the majority of humanity has taken to scavenging, animalistic tendencies.

This quotation is included to describe an aspect of existentialism which has become largely obsolete in the context of the novel.

This quotation addresses the existentialist substitute for the Christian fire and brimstone purely in that it serves as a rational for virtuous moral conduct. The father and son are already essentially living in hell, so the threat from a vindictive God of eternal damnation holds no water.

Subsequently, there must be an alternate explanation for the moral conduct of the father, and it is likely in part his effort to cling to the world he has lost.Existentialism is a philosophical movement that views human existence as having a set of underlying themes and characteristics, such as anxiety, dread, freedom, awareness of death, and consciousness of existing, that are primary.

That is, they cannot be reduced to or explained by a natural-scientific approach or any approach that attempts to detach itself from or rise above these themes. Critical Essays Sartrean Existentialism: An Overview Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List In learning about Sartrean existentialism, it is helpful to recall data .

Sartrean Existentialism in the Road Essay Michael Ross Jeff Bell 1, words 21st Century Lit. Sartrean Existentialism In The Road McCarthy tells the story of a nameless father and son struggling to survive in the aftermath of an apocalyptic happening.

Sartrean Existentialism: An Overview

Sartre's Political Philosophy French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (), the best known European public intellectual of the twentieth century, developed a highly original political philosophy, influenced in part by the work of Hegel and Marx.

Existentialism Existentialism is a philosophical movement that stresses individual existence. Human beings are totally free and responsible for their own acts.

Another main idea of existentialism is the limitation of reason and the irreducibility of experience to any system. Sartre's famous lecture in defence of Existentialism. Jean-Paul Sartre Existentialism Is a Humanism.

But which is the harder road? To whom does one owe the more brotherly love, the patriot or the mother? Which is the more useful aim, the general one of fighting in and for the whole community, or the precise aim of helping one.

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