Existentialism in Literature and Science

846 Words3 Pages
Existentialism is the philosophical approach or theory that emphasizes an individual’s existence as a free and responsible being determining his own development through acts of the will (“Existentialism”). What does that mean exactly? To make it easier to understand, that means humans as people are shaping their own destinies with every choice they make. That seems quite obvious, but to further understand the meaning of existentialism, it must be analyzed through the impacts it has had on both literature and scientific theories alike. The literary movement of existentialism is seen heavily in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and Albert Camus’ The Stranger. In The Metamorphosis, the movement of his existentialism is gradual. Gregor Samsa, the protagonist, hates his job and he wishes to be free of all his social suffering. This is seen when he is transformed into a “monstrous vermin” (Kafka 3). His transformation symbolizes him being free of the social afflictions but his human like qualities also fade away and his meaning of life is taken away as well. “Gregor now hardly ate anything anymore. Only when he accidentally passed the food laid out for him would he take a bite into his mouth just for fun, hold it in for hours, and then mostly spit it out again” (45). After his family abandons him and he is ready to die, there really isn’t a meaning to life by that time. The Metamorphosis emphasizes that one must interact with society in order for there to be a meaning to
Open Document