Tag Archives: Matt C

What is The Myth of the Sisyphus by Albert Camus all about?

21 Apr

In The Myth of the Sisyphus Camus states that there is a gap between what we as people want in life, and what we get in life. Never in life will we fine the meaning of what we are searching for. We either conclude that life is meaningless or we place all our hopes in an all powerful god. He asks if life is meaningless, then what is the purpose of living? Why not commit suicide if there is no meaning? Camus describes this as living with the absurd. He suggests the idea of facing the absurd which is not coming to terms with the meaningless of life and ending it but in fact understanding the insignificance of life and living life to the fullest. Camus then compares this to the Greek myth of the Sisyphus in which Sisyphus must roll a rock up a hill for all eternity, only to have to do it all over again every time he reaches the top. He draws this similarity to his belief in the meaninglessness of life and how man must struggle everlastingly without any hope of success. Essentially The Myth of the Sisyphus is Camus way of explaining existential nihilism portraying life as being void of any intrinsic value, yet still being worth the pains of life.

Statement of Intent

28 Nov

I have created a photo essay consisting of 5 very different photos on chapter 8 of our book, This Side of Good and Evil. My first photo was just a generalized photo. It is a piece of western propaganda during the war with the eyes and helmet of a Nazi soldier with the words “HE’S WATCHING YOU” in bold text at the bottom. This was chosen because it shows how Levi and the prisoners are being watched at all times and have no sense of privacy whatsoever. The second photo was of a puppet, tangled up within its strings. This portrays the SS Guards as the puppet master and being in complete control of the prisoners. I chose this photo over other images of puppets because this one was tangled up within its strings where it is constricted and cannot move freely, much like the prisoners within the camp. My third photo was of a pile of monopoly money. I used this because it represents the form of currency within the camps which could literally be anything ranging from shirts to gold teeth. I chose monopoly money because it represents how it is worthless outside the game of monopoly however within the game it is an essential piece. This correlates with the trade happening inside the camp with the trade of normally cheap or worthless goods, which are worth everything to the prisoners inside the camp. The fourth photo I chose was of an angry dentist pulling teeth from his patient. I chose this to represent both, how living in the camp was torture, like pulling teeth, and how the SS would end up taking the gold teeth from their victims when they were sent to the gas chambers. I chose this because it was fairly straightforward in relating to the chapter and also can depict an additional message as well. My fifth and final image was a screen shot of a classic video game Zero Wing on the Sega Mega Drive, which contained many poor translations from Japanese to English. The photo I chose is of one of the characters saying, “All your base are belong to us.” I chose this specifically because it shows how there is a broken communication between the guards and the prisoners. The bad English shows how they often are not understandable to each other. I chose the phrase “all your base are belong to us,” because it represents how the SS Guards own everything of the prisoners’. This is evident in the book on page 89 when it says, “the very gold of our teeth is their property, as sooner or later, torn from the mouths of the living or the dead, it ends up in their hands.” This shows how everything ends up in the hands of the SS therefore everything belongs to them. In conclusion I chose these photos all for a multitude of reasons and aimed at using them with multiple meanings therefore representing the chapter of the book to a fuller extent.

Intertextuality of Dante’s Divine Comedy

24 Nov

In the novel If This is a Man, there are many references to other writings. This incorporation is called intertextuality. In chapter 11, Dante’s Divine Comedy is mentioned extensively. Specifically the 8th circle, Bologia 8, of which refers to a fraudulent advisor. In the novel, Levi is speaking to the Pikolo, who is an overseer of the Lager otherwise known as an advisor. He is attempting to teach him Italian by reciting the 8th circle and Bologia 8 of Dante’s Divine Comedy. He is doing this in a mocking tone towards the Pikolo. Fortunately, for Levi’s sake, the Pikolo does not understand what Levi is saying. This is significant to the novel because it shows how Levi still retains his humanity by being able to disrespect the ‘authority’ by mocking the Pikolo without his knowledge. Levi is still shown as being able to resist the dehumanization and the total disregard shown by the authority figures throughout the novel. In this analogy of the Pikolo being the fraudulent advisor, it makes the Lager symbolize hell.  The Lager symbolizes such a low stage of hell, the 8th circle, in which there is much evil. In conclusion, the intertextuality is significant to the novel and offers insight to Levi’s condition at that point in the novel.

Levi’s Realization of the Ka-Be

10 Nov

Primo Levi is given a spoon and knife by Schmulek, the man in the bunk next to him, as he leaves with a group of men who were not shaved or showered. This is because the SS guard, the night before, puts a cross next to his name while in the Ka-Be. Levi discovers that the weak ones are selected to die. Schmulek suffers from organic decay which itself is not something you turn to the Ka-Be for since it is incurable and reason to be killed because of the economic advantages of not feeding someone who cannot work. Levi realizes he is expendable and that the weak are eliminated to make more room for the strong. To the SS, Levi was nothing more than a slave to do their bidding. Once in the Ka-Be they became worthless so to return from it is a miracle.

Primo discovers that they all are to die. He expresses this belief by saying, “Will we perhaps be able to survive the illnesses and escape the selections, perhaps even resist the work and hunger which wear us out – but then, afterwards? Here, momentarily far away from the curses and the blows, we can re-enter into ourselves and meditate, and then it becomes clear that we will not return.” (61). He acknowledges that they are all living for nothing else, and will be killed anyways; there is no returning to freedom and the real world from them. Once they were sent to that camp their lives, as they know them, have ended.

“The life of Ka-Be is the life of limbo.”(56)

“Ka-Be is the Lager without its physical discomforts” (61)

Achebe Uses Many Proverbs in the Novel. Why Might he do This and What is its Effect?

30 Sep

In the book Things Fall Apart, many proverbs are used. These proverbs are often used to explain why the Ibo people do the things they do. For example on page 20 when we are told “…when a man says yes, his chi says yes.” This shows that chi governs the Ibo people however they can still make their own destinies. Another example is on page 8 when we hear, “The sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them.” This also helps reinforce the idea that the proverbs are used to explain the actions of the Ibo people. It explains how those who stand and work will feel the sunshine before others. This explains why the Ibo are so hard working and patient. In conclusion, the proverbs in Things Fall Apart are used to explain the choices the Ibo people make.