Sunday, December 29, 2019

Nihilism and Existentialism in Cormac McCarthys The Crossing

Nihilism and Existentialism in Cormac McCarthys The Crossing Cormac McCarthys second book in The Border Trilogy offers an impressive array of worldviews all competing together in the larger narrative framework of the novel. These are not only expressed through the life of the protagonist Billy Parham and his brother Boyd, but also in the narratives of the many people they encounter on their horseback journeys through the hot desert sands of Mexico. Critic Robert L. Jarrett, associate professor of English at the University of Houston-Downtown, suggests the same in Cormac McCarthy, noting that Despite the claims of the ex-priest [in The Crossing] that all mens tales are one, such visions or tales are individual, highly†¦show more content†¦In his encyclopedic entry Nihilism, Dr. Alan Pratt, professor of Humanities at Embry-Riddle University, points to the passage in Shakespeares Macbeth when she goes into her soliloquy about the futility of life to demonstrate the stance of the existential nihilist in classic literature: Out, out, brief candle! Lifes but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more; it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. (Qtd. in Pratt, para. 12.) Other well-known motifs that express the existential nihilists perspective of life include the Greek tale of Sisyphus, first noted by novelist Albert Camus in his 1942 book The Myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a cruel king in Corinth who was condemned to spend eternity rolling a huge boulder up a mountain, knowing full well that once he reached the top it would again only come rumbling back down, yet he shouldered his burden again and again, faithfully trudging back up the mountainside in compliance with his fate. For the existential nihilist, the

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