Essence or Existence? Existentialist Reading of Samuel Beckett’s waiting for Godot (Published)
Samul Beckett’s play waiting for Godot has received different contradictory criticisms. Some critics categorized it as existential, absurd and Christian existentialism, while this study has provided textual indications and discussions to dissociate it from existentialist philosophy of Sartre and Kierkegaard’s Christian existentialism. To this end, both attitudes were examined through traits and characteristics of the two main characters of Vladimir and Estragon whether to perceive them as existentialist or essentialist. Characters were studied using philosophical approaches of Kierkegaard and Sartre’s existentialism. Discussions revealed that due to the characters’ inability to accept their responsibility of life and aimless wasting of waiting for a savior, their essence precedes their existence but endless waiting does not actualize the priority of essence. It puts Waiting for Godot beyond modern existentialist analysis and associates it with the impotent human and God in leading human destiny resulting in the characters’ frustration in an infinite purgatory world.
Keywords: Existentialism, Kierkegaard., Samuel Beckett, Sartre, waiting for Godot
The Dark Renaissance of the War Poetry: A Comparative Analysis between the Poetry of the Two World Wars (Published)
Wars have no memory, and nobody has the courage to understand them until there are no voices left to tell what happened,” –Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind.The literature of war is a literature of paradoxes, the greatest of which is the fact that it comments continuously on its own failure. War writers often lament their incapacity to describe the realities of armed combat, the inexpressible nature of the subject matter, the inadequacy of language, and the inability of their audiences to understand. Tim O’Brien writes of the war he experienced in Vietnam: “There is no clarity. Everything swirls. The old rules are no longer binding, the old truths no longer true. Right spills over into wrong. Order blends into chaos, love into hate, ugliness into beauty, law into anarchy, civility into savagery. The vapors suck you in. You can’t tell where you are, or why you’re there, and the only certainty is overwhelming ambiguity.” From ancient Nordic ballads to Masai folk songs or Red Indian sagas, war has always been a predominate theme in literature. Zafon in The Shadow of the Wind portrays a war ravaged Barcelona and comments, “There’s something about that period that’s epic and tragic” for like the Old English Elegiac poetries, the Arthurian Romances, Gorky’s Mother or Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the literature of the Great Wars have altered human perception and the very fabrics of literature. However, we witness a distinct line between the literature of both world wars. The Second Great War threatened the humankind like never before. It was a manmade crisis which threw us to the brink of extinction, and thus displaying the futility of human existence. As humanity experienced the terror of the ‘absurdity’ of reality, the philosophy if ‘nothing to be done’ surfaced in their consciousness. This paper aims to evaluate the marked change in the form of poetry written in the two Great Wars and how far the Second World War was responsible for the advent of Modernism.
Keywords: Blitz, Existentialism, Genocide, Modernism, Poetry of the Great Wars, Surrealism., Trench Warfare, Women poets of the First World War
THEME OF ALIENATION IN MODERN LITERATURE (Published)
Alienation is the basic form of rootlessness, which forms the subject of many psychological, sociological, literary and philosophical studies. Alienation is a major theme of human condition in the contemporary epoch. It is only natural that a pervasive phenomenon like alienation should leave such an indelible impact upon the contemporary literature. Alienation emerges as natural consequence of existential predicament both in intrinsic and extrinsic terms. The theme of alienation has been variously dealt with persistently and unflinchingly in modern literature. The alienated protagonist is a recurrent figure in much of the twentieth century American and European fiction. Alienation in its various forms, has been dealt with in the existentialistic literature. Owing to its historical and socio-cultural reasons, the Indo-English literature also, could not remain unaffected by it. Alienation is the result of loss of identity. The dispossessed personality’s search for identity is a common place theme in modern fiction. Man fails to perceive today the very purpose behind life and the relevance of his existence in a hostile world. Edmund Fuller remarks that in our age “man suffers not only from war, persecution, famine and ruin, but from inner problems ——— a conviction of isolation, randomness, meaninglessness in his way of existence “.The paper will discuss and analyze theme of alienation in modern literature in general and Indo-English literature in particular from different angles. It will be contextualized by referring profusely the works of renowned writers. Nuances of the word alienation will also be discussed thoroughly
Keywords: Alienation, Existence, Existentialism, Identity, Isolation, Predicament, Randomness, Rootlessness