Without the framework of a stable social structure or grounding beliefs in religious realities, as well as being faced with questions about the reliability of the human psyche, thinkers of the day turned to such ideologies as existentialism, which goes very comfortably hand-in-hand with absurdity. Samsa's family treats the situation with a detached resignation, as one might treat a common ailment or illness. In this work, Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman who lives with and helps support his parents, wakes up transformed into an insect. And religion is not the only possibility: people find meaning for their lives in nationalism, science, Marxism, art, and many other beliefs and practices. Let's dig a little more deeply into what exactly is absurd in literature and then discuss the seeming paradox of using structure to suggest there is not structure.
The absurd terminates negatively before the sphere of faith, which is a sphere by itself. Reason alone will never prove the existence of God; but we should still place our trust in the divine because the alternatives, he believed, are madness, suicide, or ignorance. These demands are absolutely absurd. This faith has no expectations, but is a flexible power initiated by a recognition of the absurd. Nevertheless, his work anticipated many absurdist themes and provided its theoretical background.
And we search for explanations for the universe in general. According to Kierkegaard in his autobiography , most of his pseudonymous writings are not necessarily reflective of his own opinions. Less well-informed people, conversely, are more likely to be confident in their abilities and beliefs this is called Dunning-Krueger Syndrome. The passion of faith is the only thing which masters the absurd — if not, then faith is not faith in the strictest sense, but a kind of knowledge. Existentialists have generally advocated the individual's construction of his or her own meaning in life as well as the of the individual. In other words, the writers did not only introduce ideas of meaninglessness into the content, but also wove meaninglessness into the very structure of the story by breaking down these conventional relationships.
Logically contradictory, nonsensical and ridiculous matters can also be called absurdity. The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard, , 1938. Examples of Absurdity When we think of absurdity in literature, historical context plays a hugely significant role. But the absurdist seems to reaffirm the way in which death ultimately nullifies our meaning-making activities, a conclusion the existentialists seem to resist through various notions of posterity or, in Sartre's case, participation in a grand humanist project. Camus's own understanding of the world e. By the mere activity of consciousness I transform into a rule of life what was an invitation to death, and I refuse suicide.
The three schools of thought diverge from there. But the war was a bloodbath, and individual soldiers, in spite of their incredible sacrifice and suffering, found that they had accomplished very little in the end imagine seeing your friends die in huge numbers just to gain a few miles of territory, which the enemy would simply take back a few months later. They strongly deny the validity of religion and other pseudo-religious philosophies such as nationalism—because they seem to be based on blind faith and wishful thinking. While Camus never believed in any kind of absolute religious or philosophical morality, he did believe that people should be compassionate, dedicated, and loyal — all lessons he learned from sports. The Absurd, or to act by virtue of the absurd, is to act upon faith. Absurdism as a belief system was born of the European existentialist movement that ensued, specifically when Camus rejected certain aspects of that philosophical line of thought and published his essay.
Separate from other individuals and alienated from the world itself, a human being is left to wander alone and is much more susceptible to mass manipulation and government control. But instead of breaking his faith, this realization caused Kierkegaard to embrace it more tightly. Despite his drastically changed physical state, he retains his human mental faculties and emotions. Murrow Many people, going all the way back to Socrates, have pointed out that the most intelligent people are often the most confused and the most acutely aware of their own ignorance. Writers who used these existential ideologies as an impetus for writing include Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, Tom Robbins, Kurt Vonnegut, and many others. For to hope in the possibility of help, not to speak of help by virtue of the absurd, that for God all things are possible — no, that he will not do. There is resolution to the individual's desire to seek meaning: Yes, the creation of one's own meaning.
So what can we do? To Camus, elusion is a fundamental flaw in , , and various other schools of thought. . A radiation disaster killed everyone in the solar system, with the single exception of David Lister, who happened to be in the stasis chamber of a mining ship which protected him from the disaster. It was that he was a blockhead, and had no idea of the absurdity that he was committing. Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. One instance will suffice to show the absurdity of the rules.
Samsa questions the meaning of his existence before he becomes an insect, and despite the transformation, which has the potential for meaning, he still faces the same questions as a new being. Without the framework of a stable social structure or grounding beliefs in religious realities, and at the same time being faced with questions about the reliability of the human psyche, thinkers of the mid-1900s turned to such ideologies as existentialism, which goes very comfortably hand-in-hand with absurdity. Things that are obviously and flatly against a clear truth are also absurdity. There is inherent meaning in the universe: No Yes, but the individual must have come to the knowledge of God. Lesson Summary Absurdity in literature is a vehicle for writers to explore those elements in the world that do not make sense. The notion that horses can talk is absurd.
In acknowledging the absurdity of seeking any inherent meaning, but continuing this search regardless, one can be happy, gradually developing meaning from the search alone. Existentialists believe that even though the universe is meaningless, human beings still have freedom, and make life meaningful by exercising that freedom. Both existentialism and absurdism entail consideration of the practical applications of becoming conscious of the truth of : i. Instead, he listened to those critiques and became convinced that there could be no rational basis for believing in God. It examines questions of meaning and life, and writers often use absurd themes, characters, or situations to question whether meaning or structure exists at all.