Existentialism in story "The Wall" by Jean Paul Sartre.

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Existentialism is a cultural, literary, and philosophical movement that arose largely as a reaction to the unreflective optimism and belief in progress of the nineteenth century. It is not a set of fixed beliefs as so much an attitude toward life. Existentialism, in its various manifestations, emphasizes the lived experience of the subject, his or her existence, rather than positing any kind of underlying essence. For the existentialist, the world is one in which human beings are constantly confronted with their own freedom; they are forced to make decisions about how they will live their lives, which projects they will pursue, and how they will act towards others. Later on, we will see how these various elements come together in Sartre's "The Wall."

There has long been a tradition of religious existentialism; indeed, the first recognizably existentialist thinker of the modern period was Kierkegaard, whose passionately individualistic brand of Christianity established many of...

(The entire section contains 737 words.)

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