January 29, 2007

"Man Makes Himself"

Murfin and Ray, Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)


This word interested me because I have some friends who belive in this "idea" and I never truly understood what they belived in. Murfin and Ray summed it up perfectly - "Existentialists concern themselves with humanity's very being, with its perpetual, angusihed struggle to exist."

Existentialists need to find their OWN purpose and meaning of life, which can be very positive but it can make someone feel even more neglected and alienated than previously.

Existentialists works "tend to stress the alienation of individuals as well as their essential - and inescapable - loneliness and uncertainty." After reading their tendencies they seem like pretty depressing people, who have a chance of really understanding their purpose, but a greater chance of becoming extremely depressed.

Posted by GinaBurgese at January 29, 2007 10:12 AM | TrackBack

I agree. It would be depressing to live without an opinion of your own about life. You're right, everyone needs a purpose!

Posted by: Erin at January 29, 2007 1:42 PM

Do you think this has anything to do with the fact that many people perceive artists of many types (writers, painters, musicians, etc.) to be crazy? What about all of the suicides related to the arts--do you think this is a side effect of that "chance of really understanding their purpose"? Occupational hazards... sheesh.

Posted by: Karissa at January 29, 2007 1:52 PM

You're right, Karissa. Look at Sylvia Plath!

Posted by: Erin at January 29, 2007 3:21 PM

The way I look at it is that we are all existentialists in some way. To put it in one way, we are all in college because we are trying to figure out what exactly we want to major in that would lead us to a promising career that would lead to a happy life.
We are all trying to define our ownself as well.
We do this by chosing our friends, activities, clothing, music and so on.
I agree with you, Gina, that this may lead one to discover that he/she do not lead a very interesting life. But, then they could grow from this and begin to go out and change who they are.

Posted by: Denamarie at January 29, 2007 4:14 PM

When I read this it made me think of a lot of writers, it seems like almost ever single one of those authors who was considered one of the greatest seemed to go through that. I wonder why that is? I guess writing wasn't ment to be their purpose in life so it seems.

Posted by: Sue Myers at January 29, 2007 4:38 PM
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