Sartrean Existentialism in the Road

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Michael Ross Jeff Bell 1,365 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. 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. Ely stated that “There is no God, and we are his prophets.”. Ostensibly the implication is that God did once exist, but is now gone, leaving those few with a discernible sense 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. The analysis will operate under Sartre’s existentialism, as it is the most popularized and coherent. The first key point of Sartre’s existentialism in relation to the novel is his assertion that “Existence precedes essence”. This claim is applicable to the text in a number of ways, but its most salient application lies in the implication that there is also no universal...
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