Existence precedes essence Sartre claimed that a central proposition of Existentialism is that existence precedes essencewhich means that the most important consideration for individuals is that they are individuals—independently acting and responsible, conscious beings "existence" —rather than what labels, roles, stereotypes, definitions, or other preconceived categories the individuals fit "essence".
The Dark Side of the Cross: Flannery O'Connor's Short Fiction by Patrick Galloway Introduction To the uninitiated, the writing of Flannery O'Connor can seem at once cold and dispassionate, as Existential essays as almost absurdly stark and violent.
Her short stories routinely end in horrendous, freak fatalities or, at the very least, a character's emotional devastation. Working his way through "Greenleaf," "Everything that Rises Must Converge," or "A Good Man is Hard to Find," the new reader feels an existential hollowness reminiscent of Camus' The Stranger; O'Connor's imagination appears a barren, godless plane of meaninglessness, punctuated by pockets of random, mindless cruelty.
In reality, her writing is filled with meaning and symbolism, hidden in plain sight beneath a seamless narrative style that breathes not a word of agenda, of dogma, or of personal belief. In this way, her writing is intrinsically esoteric, in that it contains knowledge that is hidden to all but those who have been instructed as to how and where to look for it, i.
Flannery O'Connor is a Christian writer, and her work is message-oriented, yet she is far too brilliant a stylist to tip her hand; like all good writers, crass didacticism is abhorrent to her. Nevertheless, she achieves what few Christian writers have ever achieved: In this analysis, we will be looking at just how Flannery O'Connor accomplished this seemingly impossible task, non-didactic Christian fiction, by examining elements of faith, elements of style, and thematic elements in her writing.
While Existential essays sources are included for perspective, I have focused primarily upon Miss O'Connor's own essays and speeches in my examination of the writer's motivations, attitudes, and technique, most of which are contained in the posthumous collection Mystery and Manners.
Unlike some more cryptic writers, O'Connor was happy to discuss the conceptual and philosophical underpinnings of her stories, and this candor is a godsend for the researcher that seeks to know what "makes the writer tick.
O'Connor, and spent her early childhood at East Charlton Street. Young Flannery attended St. In her father got a position as appraiser for the Federal Housing Administration, and the family moved to North East Atlanta, then Milledgeville, where, three years later, Ed died from complications arising from the chronic autoimmune disease lupus.
Inafter complaining of a heaviness in her typing arms, she was diagnosed with the same lupus that had killed her father. She went on, despite the disease, to write two novels and thirty-two short stories, winning awards and acclaim, going on speaking tours when her health permitted, but spending most of her time on the family farm, Andalusia, in Milledgeville, with her mother.
She died of lupus on August third, at the age of thirty-nine. Flannery O'Connor remained a devout Catholic throughout, and this fact, coupled with the constant awareness of her own impending death, both filtered through an acute literary sensibility, gives us valuable insight into just what went into those thirty-two short stories and the two novels: At first it might seem that these aspects of her writing would detract from, distort or mar the fiction they are wrapped up in, but in fact they only serve to enhance it, to elevate the mundane, sometimes laughably pathetic events that move her plots into sublime anti-parables, stories that show the way by elucidating the worst of paths.
What at first seem senseless deaths become powerful representations of the swift justice of God; the self-deluded, prideful characters that receive the unbearable revelation of their own shallow selves are being impaled upon the holy icicle of grace, even if they are too stupid or lost to understand the great boon God is providing them.
Note these last lines from "The Enduring Chill": But the Holy Ghost, emblazoned in ice instead of fire, continued to descend. O'Connor observed a Manicheism in the mind of the average Catholic reader, resulting from a conceptual separation between nature and grace in considerations of the supernatural, thus rendering fictional experience of nature as either sentimental or obscene.
Therefore O'Connor utilizes nature as a tool, a hard, sharp tool with which to hew and chisel her work from the living rock of the real world.
Nature imagery is everywhere in O'Connor, and it is often used to reinforce the negativity of the lives and mental states of her characters. In "A View of the Woods" we read of trees that are described as "sullen" and "gaunt ," of "threadbare" clouds, and "indifferent" weather.
Elsewhere, human beings are described by way of animal imagery such as "large bug," "wheezing horse," "hyena," "sheep," "crab," "goat," "dog," " buzzard," "monkey," and the like.
The novice reader of O'Connor may well wonder how her work, grotesque and violent as it is, would be considered "Christian" or "Catholic" writing.As Robert Solomon has written in his excellent book of essays, "From Hegel to Existentialism", this essay provides a comprehensive introduction to B&N in its own right, and is far clearer than the "oqaque" Introduction of B&N itself.
It explains Sartre's theory of emotions, a theory he continued to hold throughout his life, even though he never 5/5(6). Social and personality psychologists traditionally have focused their attention on the most basic building blocks of human thought and behavior, while existential psychologists pursued broader, more abstract questions regarding the nature of existence and the meaning of life.
Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking. In his Existential essay “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Albert Camus uses the Greek mythological character as a metaphor for the human condition.
Introduction more than existential angst. Most of my students seem to have some notions as to what existentialism is.
Many individuals have simplistic answers for what is “existential,” what constitutes “existentialism,” and who were/are “the existentialists.”. Read this essay on Existential Therapy Reflection Paper. Come browse our large digital warehouse of free sample essays. Get the knowledge you need in order to pass your classes and more.
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