Existential Quest and the Meaning of Life in Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness and Anita Desais Voices in the City
agony, disillusion, existentialism, outlaw, realisation
Existence, being the first principle of existentialism, means the ‘here’ and ‘now’ of being. Essence being the second, is the ‘what’ of this being. Hence the basic idea of existentialism is that man’s existence is prior to his essence, that is his being ‘here’ and ‘now’ precedes his being ‘something’. As Jean Paul Sartre puts it “Man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world and defines himself afterwards”. He is a free individual in the sense of not being determined but his freedom burdens him with a sense of responsibility. He is a ‘being-for-itself’ and tries to live beyond himself. Man begins the journey of his life with romantic dreams and ideals but ultimately ends up disillusioned – as an existentialist. But he is different from a romantic pessimist or a nihilist. He makes conscious efforts to discover the meaning of his existence amidst the meaninglessness of life. This is what is called by the existentialist thinkers as ‘new existentialism’ which is been discussed in this paper with reference to the protagonists in the novels Heart of Darkness and Voices in the City.
Article Details
Unique Paper ID: 152621

Publication Volume & Issue: Volume 8, Issue 3

Page(s): 967 - 969
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