This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Absurdity Of Punishing A Fellow Human Being

1134 words - 5 pages

The short story "Some of us had been threatening out friend Colby" by Donald Barthelme is a satire about human cruelty. The author showed how irrational it could be for a group of people to enforce punishment on a fellow person, especially in the case of capital punishment. The author begins the story by declaring a bunch of friends wanted to have a friend, Colby, hung. The reason of this shocking action was mentioned very briefly and casually, as Colby's behavior had "gone too far." (1) After that the story swiftly moved onto detailed discussions of the ways his hanging was going to be carried out. The contrast between the obvious seriousness of the action with the lack of detail devoted to its justification underscores the profound prejudice Colby's friends held. For them, that Colby deserved to be so severely punished was a matter worthy of no more discussion. The beginning set the tone for the story.It went on with excruciating details of the planning of the hanging "event" by these friends, showing how cruel and cold hearted human can be when passing punishment onto others. The friends meticulously worked through issues like keeping the operation under budget, getting the spectators invited and bussed in and whether to serve drink, how to make sure the gibbet worked, etc., apparently unconcerned by the loss their friend was going to suffer from. This contrast was the consistent theme throughout the entire story, beginning with the music selection at the event. The victim's wish was rejected in favor of a lower budget production. Then it was the choice of the method of execution. Again the victim's "preference" of a firing squad was rejected because the friends intended to deny him the "unnecessary theatrics." (5) Because it was written as black humor, the story also used the reverse rhetoric to strike home the same point. The "I" among the friends suggested the use of rope instead of wire at the hanging, and this was regarded as an act of consideration to lessen the victim's pain, and was even appreciated by the victim himself. With the trivial things dominating people's minds, the life of the victim was nobody's concern.Typical of satires, symbols and metaphors were used extensively in the story. When the friends could not find a professional hangman to do the job, they decided to let Colby stand on a 10 foot rubber ball. Tomas, who contributed the idea, suggested that it "would afford a sufficient drop and would roll out of the way if Colby suddenly changed his mind after jumping off." (6) The rubber ball was the mechanism the friends adopted because it would not require someone else to do the job. Instead, Colby will jump off and hang himself. This represented highest form of repression of forcing the repressed to bring the harm onto themselves. The seemingly ingenious design of the ball as the hanging platform also represented the absoluteness of the punishment. The persecution was irreversible; there was no pardon, no forgiveness, as...

Find Another Essay On The Absurdity of Punishing a Fellow Human Being

The Good, the Happiness of a Human Being

972 words - 4 pages By the end of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle has taken us on a journey to find the ultimate good, the ultimate happiness. He has held throughout Nicomachean Ethics that the ultimate good must fit three criteria; it must be complete, self-sufficient and the fully human. Aristotle arrives at what he believes may have the potential of being the ultimate good. He believes that the contemplative life fits the three conditions of the ultimate end of

Absurdity: The Myth of Sisyphus Essay

1676 words - 7 pages two viewpoints is what makes life absurd, “The sense that life as a whole is absurd arises when we perceive, perhaps dimly, an inflated pretension or aspiration which is inseparable from the continuation of human life which make its absurdity inescapable, short of escape from life itself,” (Klemke and Cahn 145). Once man has insight into the fact that reality is moot, he must make two choices: changing his ambitions to better accord to reality or

Abortion is the Destruction of a Human Being

1385 words - 6 pages give the baby up for adoption. It’s the best thing to do and make a miracle to a family whom isn’t able to have a baby. Let the baby live and go with a family that will treat them the way you would, but didn’t have the chance to. There is couples that can’t have babies because the women or men don’t have the ability to reproduce eggs. Abortion is the destruction of a human being. It shouldn’t be allowed anywhere babies want to also have the

The Existential View Of Absurdity

1279 words - 6 pages about the plague and all the crazy events that follow. Another example of Dr. Rieux accepting absurdity in the world is how he continues to work hard for the town, despite his wife being a hundred miles away in a sanatorium. The absurdity of this situation is his wife’s ailment. She has been ill for about a year and they do not know what is wrong with her, just that she has some disease. Dr. Rieux still works hard even though he is separated from

The Meaning of Being Human

1320 words - 5 pages Mesopotamia indicate innovative structural, civic and transportation engineering.Knowledge also indicated a personal growth, or a rising awareness of individuals to the kaleidoscopic variety of the city. The city being a melting pot for foreign traders, merchants and thinkers enabled a greater tolerance and understanding as different people interacted. This gave way for the development of the “Eye” (Reilly, 36). The Eye meant that people

The Absurdity of Scientific Creationism

3010 words - 12 pages The Absurdity of Scientific Creationism We humans have always thought of ourselves as being unique, whether by divine sanction or by a self-established belief in superiority. For some, this understanding is intimately tied to the traditional tenets that have long been held as fact, having only recently been challenged. For modern Christians, the literal interpretation of the Bible=s account of creation has come under attack by the

Verbal Irony in A Fellow of No Delicacy by A Fellow of No Delicacy

1140 words - 5 pages chapter titles, cliffhangers, and the overarching theme of fate. Dickens uses verbal irony in chapter titles to reveal a person’s true character. He names the chapter dealing with Carton’s thoughts and feelings “A Fellow of No Delicacy” and the chapter about Stryver “A Fellow of Delicacy.” Stryver maintains the attitude that he would be bestowing a great gift upon Lucie if he were to make her his wife. His arrogance leads to anger when his love

Analysis Of Emily Dickensons Poem: A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

1091 words - 4 pages Emily Dickinson's poem, "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass", is believed to have been written in 1865, and is a vivid portrayal of one of the most infamous creatures of the natural world, the snake. "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass" is a short six stanza, narrative which tells the story of an encounter with a snake. The poem expresses emotions of intrigue, "His notice sudden is"; apprehension, "But never met this Fellow/Attended or alone/ Without a

Sartreist absurdity in the works of Pynchon

795 words - 3 pages narrativity, but rather the collapse of culture. Therefore, the premise of dialectic appropriation holds that language is used to entrench outdated, sexist perceptions of sexual identity, given that cultural postconceptualist theory is invalid. The example of Sartreist absurdity intrinsic to Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 is also evident in V.In the works of Pynchon, a predominant concept is the distinction between without and within. Thus

Being A Human

794 words - 4 pages In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, humans are created by the World State. Also they are conditioned human souls to have a synthetic, dream-like life. In the World State, people are happy. Almost everything is thought of for the World State citizens, and people perform their duties with no complaint since they are designed to fit their job and their social status. From birth or hatching, till they become active in society, all citizens goes

A Separate Peace: The Allegorical characters representing the universal truth of human being

1350 words - 6 pages all my time at school; I killed my enemy there” (Knowles 204). This excerpt is a metaphor, comparing Devon and the battlefield, describing how the battlefield is not the only place where you fight people, but also places like school where you can interact and dislike people. Gene explicitly states that his enemy was Finny. Even though his jealousy lead Finny to the disappointing death, Gene possessed the normal qualities of human being. Gene is an

Similar Essays

Absurdity And Satire In The Importance Of Being Earnest

1687 words - 7 pages Absurdity and Satire in The Importance of Being Earnest In Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, much is made of societal expectations, protocols, as well as the inversions of these expectations. A character, Jack Worthing, adopts an alter ego when going into town to avoid keeping up with the serious and morally upright behaviour that is expected of him as guardian to his eighteen-year-old ward, Cecily. Another character, Algernon

Abortion, The Killing Of A Human Being

927 words - 4 pages it is accomplished. However it is done, may be by suction or half-births, it is wrong and a disgraceful thing to do. Women should not have an abortion because it's killing a human being, it has adverse effects upon the mother, and there are alternatives. One of the main statements an people justify an abortion with is that the baby is not a real person, its just a mass of cells. A fetus, small baby in Latin, is a living creature created by God

The Absurdity Of Man Essay

614 words - 2 pages life is imminent. Meursault’s absurdity achieves happiness as well. He realizes that before he was imprisoned he was happy, he had a good job and a girlfriend and nothing really to complain about. Since he also realizes his absurdity and has a reason for his indifference, he is happy. Once he realizes that life or death will achieve the same thing in his situation, he’s not concerned with whether he lives or dies. The idea of life being absurd

The Absurdity Of Life Essay

657 words - 3 pages Human life is absurd and there is no universal meaning, but humanity suffers from this inevitable fact so they try to find meaning through various created purposes to feel significant in their life. The absurdity of life is one of the biggest issues of philosophy because of the consequences it can cause in peoples lives. As human beings we desire purpose, meaning and order in life. Without the content of a meaningful life we feel lost and strive