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In No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre - review

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Introduction

Tecnol�gico de Monterrey Alejandra Cavazos 783915 Abelardo Sol�s 913015 Modern World Literature of the Twentieth Century Professor Donna Marie Kabalen October 14, 2003 In No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre, the three main characters, Garcin, Inez and Estelle, must face the harsh reality that is presented to them unexpectedly. The play takes place in hell, where all the characters have been sent after their individual deaths and must now learn to cope with each other for eternity. After a while, they realize that they have nothing in common from their respective pasts, but they are certainly put together for one reason, to pay for their sins. Their common sense tells them that they are there to suffer, and that the best way to let time pass-by peacefully is by ignoring each other. However, their confinement forces them to interact with each other, beginning their eternal punishment. Throughout the play they will acknowledge that punishment in hell is not physical but as well mental, as it is obvious to them that the only torture they are receiving comes from each other's cruelty. This paper will analyze how man's cruelty to his fellow man can be more of a torture than any other. Inez and Garcin find out in a very satirical way about their respective roles in the chamber. First, Garcin believes that Valet is the torturer. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore, they agree that they will try not to talk. Cruelty manifests itself initially on how first Garcin prefers not to talk, thus avoiding contact, and then how Inez and Estelle are afraid to venture into a relationship when it is known that relationships between people are the ones that liberate one's soul. "Estelle: But we're going to-to hurt each other. You said it yourself. Inez: Do I look as if I wanted to hurt you? Estelle: One never can tell. Inez: Much more likely you'll hurt me. Still, what does it matter? If I've got to suffer, it may as well be at your hands, your pretty hands." (19,20) Although they acknowledge the fact that they may get hurt, they agree that they will try not to hurt each other. Nonetheless, they know that suffering will take place because, after all, they are in hell. Thus, they start a relationship to try and build trust and minimize suffering and punishment. The relationship started by Estelle and Garcin reflects how much incongruence is present as they are using each other to fulfil their needs, Estelle the wanting of a man and Garcin the need to be brave and not be a coward. "Garcin: What do you want of me? Estelle: You can help me anyhow. Garcin: If you want help, apply to her. Estelle: I implore you, Garcin - you gave me your promise, didn't you? ...read more.

Conclusion

(43) Inez is not showing respect for his feelings, she is stating the facts as she perceives them causing damage to Garcin and even more alienation from the group. The purpose of the room is beginning to show meaning. In conclusion, the characters' innate cruelty towards each other was sufficient to guarantee Inez, Garcin, and Estelle's well-deserved eternal punishment. The theme analyzed contributes to our understating of modern literature because it is harsh and real. It is life as we know it and as we need to defend ourselves from it. One of the main elements of modern literature that is present in the play is that of insecurity and isolation. Everybody feels isolated at some point in their lives, its part of developing your personality. Being exposed to adverse situations creates who you will become in the future. Unfortunately for these characters, their fate consisted in going to hell. The genius of Sartre consisted in realizing this and depicting it in a way many readers would not have thought of. Here lies the importance of the play to the modern day reader. The reader must realize how powerful words can be and how much they can hurt a person. Therefore, it is crucial to acknowledge this importance while there is still time to do something about it on Earth instead of suffering from your faults eternally in hell. The reality is that words can truly hurt a person and cause enormous amounts of sorrow. Physical wounds heal with time, but it is the emotional wounds that scar forever. ...read more.

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