Existentialism : What Is It?

1704 Words Dec 23rd, 2016 7 Pages
Salena LeDonne
23 December 2016
Period 6
Mr. Reidinger
Existence: What Is It? One of the most persistent, haunting dilemmas is the uncertainty of the meaning of life. Although there is no single answer to this enigma, there are countless theories concerning it. For example, one philosophical approach is known as Existentialism. Jean Paul Sartre, a well-known existentialist, introduced his 3-word ideology, existence precedes essence in his lecture titled Existentialism is a Humanism which was presented during 1940’s Europe, a time when people needed a new foundation of thinking. From then, the theory gained popularity and became the backbone of future pieces. For example, even Charles M. Shultz’s cheery cartoon series Peanuts has camouflaged existential crises through it’s characters, particularly Charlie Brown and Snoopy. According to The Atlantic journalist Sarah Boxer, Peanuts offers more philosophical insight than one might expect, “the strip’s cozy suburban conviviality, its warm fuzziness, actually conveyed some uncomfortable truths about the loneliness of social existence” (1). Both Charlie and Snoopy are much like the characters found in existential literature, as they are alienated by their peers and, “like the existential human in a world of silent or absent deities, Schulz’s characters exist in a world of silent or absent adult authority” (Radke).
Additionally, Sartre writes a short story titled The Wall, which reinforces the same principles of Existentialism.…
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