Cat's Cradle and Good Country People: Existentialism and Nihilism

Topics: Existentialism, Nihilism, Meaning of life Pages: 2 (755 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Choose three or four characters from Cat's Cradle and Good Country People and discuss them in terms of existentialism and nihilism?

In both Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonegut and Good Country People by Flannery O'Connor the authors show how a character is corrupted and changed from an existentialist to a nihilist. The existentialist ends up losing their faith in life, and is left believing in nothing. They then turn to being nihilist after having the only thing they believed destroyed. In both stories the author uses both existentialist which is corrupted by nihilist. Existentialism is a philosophy centered on individual existence and personal responsibility for acts of free will in the absence of certain knowledge of what is right or wrong. Nihilism is a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless. In Good Country People the existentialismt is Hulga and the nihilist is Manly Porter. In Cat's Cradle the existentialismt is Julian Castle and the nihilist is Newt Hoeniker.

In Good Country People, Manly Porter, the nihilist, robs Hulga, the existentialismt. Manly, who appears to be an honest hardworking man, who sells bibles, want to have dinner with Hulga. Hulga agrees to meet Manly because she wants to use him for a test subject in an experiment of seduction, hoping to gain a new experience and also change, what she thinks, his limited way of thinking. She wants to orchestrate this specific plan because she thinks it will be the most successful one at seducing him, which is her primary goal. Hulga tells Manly "take his remorse in hand and change it into a deeper understanding of life," meaning that when people take off their superficial blindfolds that cover up the harsh cruelty of reality and they see life for what it truly is, they don't see anything meaningful or hopeful in life. They then believe that life has no purpose or meaning and they are terribly disappointed....
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