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What Is to Be Done

An essay by Contributing Editor Andrew Ng, ’22

 

Vladimir: Nothing you can do about it.

Estragon: No use struggling.

Vladimir: One is what one is.

Estragon: No use wriggling.

Vladimir: The essential doesn’t change.

Estragon: Nothing to be done.

– Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

 

Vladimir and Estragon experience the Absurd, facing up against the purposelessness of life and the hopelessness of the world. The Absurd is, as Camus worded it, the “divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting.” The question of life – the question of living – bears heavily on the absurd man (note: in The Myth of Sisyphus (Tr: Justin O’Brien) Camus uses the phrase “absurd man,” as opposed to “absurd person,” etc. I have chosen to also use “absurd man” to maintain clarity and consistency, though I find it misogynistic), and truly on all of us. The philosopher and the writer confront the Absurd to examine humanity. Camus differentiates yet links these disciplines to find that “the great novelists are philosophical novelists,” yet not philosophers themselves: they write “in images rather than in reasoned arguments.” But Camus himself was undeniably both a novelist and a philosopher. And The Stranger is as much of an account of his philosophy as is The Myth of Sisyphus. The distinction then is a matter of appearances: the great author, as the Russian Formalists might put it, “defamiliarizes” the reader yet still conveys message and meaning. Meaning, for Camus, being a confrontation with the Absurd.  Continue reading “What Is to Be Done”

Grapes

a vignette by anonymous, class of 2023

Smiling is a privilege. There are some who can wake up in the winter with short days and still be smiling when the orange sun sets, hiding itself away from the constant disruptive buzzing that hums on the ground.  Even there, there was a smile that was seen from miles away. 

Continue reading “Grapes”

a modern lenten tradition

thoughtsharing* by Caterina Baffa, ’17

I haven’t watched a youtube video or gone on Buzzfeed since Wednesday, February 10th.

Every spring, Catholics across the globe celebrate a Church season called Lent. “Lent” means spring; just as spring represents rebirth and new life, Lent is the season which prepares people for the new life to come at Easter. Many people abstain from a particular food, practice, or item for the forty days of Lent in recognition of this preparatory season.

This year, just I have the past few years, I have abstained from going on the internet for fun. Now, of course I can check my email for important messages and go online for school work and the like, but there are no more hours of scrolling through interesting stories and videos just for the sake of it. Continue reading “a modern lenten tradition”

thirteen ways of looking at my writer’s block

confession by Rachel Landau, ’16

1. People should pursue the pleasure of writing about their interests.  For example, I would love to write an essay about painted doors, and loud music, and loneliness.  Note that Mrs. Dalloway does not make this short list of acceptable subjects.

Continue reading “thirteen ways of looking at my writer’s block”

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