According to the philosophy of the absurd as defined by Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, among others, the absurd hero proves his heroism by asserting or creating significance even while recognizing the absolute indifference and meaninglessness of the universe. How does this definition of heroism apply to one or more of Robert Stone’s protagonists?
Stone’s recurrent imagery and even his short vignettes of strangers encountering each other in dangerous circumstances convey the underlying tensions and threats inherent in a Darwinian worldview. Illustrate this notion with images or scenes from one of Stone’s stories or novels.
Despite his foreign settings, Stone’s points of reference and central characters are always Americans. How does this fact help readers clarify his intentions and his message?
What virtues does Stone find in his drug culture characters? How does he use these virtues to intensify his social criticism?
Although Stone is not a comic writer, he regularly employs black humor, and his characters are sometimes caught up in somewhat comic situations. Find two examples to illustrate this point.
Provide two examples of Stone’s use of Shakespearean references in his works. What do these examples suggest about his reasons for doing so?
Stone refers to philosophies and concepts that he expects his readers to know or learn about. Pick one of them—for example, Sufist or Kabbalist philsophies in Damascus Gate--and find out more about it. How does this background information help you better understand what is going on?