HOW DOES ILL SEEN ILL SAID MEAN?
In the eyes of a grade 12 student
“Man is nothing else but what he makes himself.” A bold sentence spoken by none other than Jean-Paul Sartre, a man who some consider to be the father of existentialism. Existentialism is the belief that the world man makes around him is all that matters. Everything else is considered irrelevant. A human is rewarded and punished for his actions and there is no other force that chooses his or her destiny. Samuel Beckett, a poet and an author, based many of his writings on existentialism. One such writing is his novella, Ill Seen Ill Said. In Ill Seen Ill Said, Samuel Beckett depicts how existence precedes essence, by describing an old blind woman who lost all the objects and people she kept dear and thus lost everything she felt she needed to live for. The old woman’s suffering was so great that even the narrator feels pity for her and says, “As had she the misfortune to be still of this world.”(Beckett, 58) The old woman has but one desire left, to leave her body and the pain that she finds in the world. She goes as far as to feeling jealous and envious towards a person, possibly her husband, who had passed on and his grave stone was all that remained. Every day, this old, blind woman, would make her way outside and stare at the gravestone, hoping that she too can one day achieve the thing as the man who lied in front of her, eternal bliss from this world. She had made her way to the grave so many times that the stone in front of her house were beginning to get etched by her boots. Such was the daily activities of this poor old miserable woman. The old women felt such a strong desire of to be rid of this world, that she was going insane. Or as the narrator in Ill Seen Ill Said would say, “The old so dying woman. So dead. In the madhouse of her own skull and nowhere else.”(Beckett, 67) From the beginning of the novella, Samuel Beckett has tried to establish a dark tone for his story. Many times...
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