New Media Expands Old Philosophy Essay

2495 words - 10 pages

This famous quote summarizes the gloomy philosophy of existentialism. Schopenhauer, using this philosophy, believed that the universe was meaningless and irrational, and that his irrational life was full of choices that brought him in contact with the nothingness of the universe. Existentialism has no definite description because individuals create their own meaning by making sense of the world as it pertains to the individual. While individuals create their own meaning, there are several common themes that are followed. These themes fall under the general idea that reality is absurd and it is the responsibility of humans to make their own choices and accept the consequences of these choices in regard to the individual’s experience. Some of these universal themes appear as morals of the effects of not being an existentialist in the writings of existentialists who decided to share their own reflections in books, songs, and movies. Within existential literature, three themes, dread and anxiety, alienation and estrangement, and choice and commitment, are most common and also epitomize the philosophy of existentialism. Dread and anxiety show the existentialist that his direction or choice is wrong at the time.
The first theme of existentialism is experiencing dread and anxiety as a result of making a choice and feeling that it was wrong. This theme encompasses many existentialist writings, such as The Yellow Wallpaper. In The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the main character, Jane, suffers from depression. Her husband moves her to a mansion outside of town to help relax her mind. Upon entering her rooms for the summer, Jane felt anxiety from the sight of the wallpaper. Jane is left confined in her room and her anxiety for the wallpaper builds, she begins to find “people” in the wallpaper. “She crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over. And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern—it strangles so,” (Gilman 7) Jane confesses in her writings. As the story progresses, Jane no longer expresses anxiety for the wallpaper in her writings; rather, she believes in her anxiety and professes that she has become trapped within the wallpaper. “I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night…‘I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!’” (Gilman 9) Jane, in anti-existentialism ideology, allowed her anxiety of the wallpaper to drive her crazy. Had Jane been an existentialist, she would have realized that this anxiety meant that she needed to get away from the room. However, she followed her husband’s orders and stayed, therefore proving what results from not forming existentialist beliefs.
In the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the main character, Charlie, experiences dread and even blackouts when he relives flashbacks of his Aunt Helen raping him as a child (Perks). Charlie represses...

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