Is William Saroyan a humanist?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Saroyan did not consider himself a humanist.  In fact, he said it was not clear what a humanist was, and found the word “absurd” because the definition made no sense.  Dictionary.com defines a humanist as “a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity” (dictionary.com).  He pointed out that evil men like Hitler claimed to be doing what they felt was in the best interest of humankind.

I represent only what I am, there may be no other like me, and if I am a ‘humanist,’ it is only in terms of my understanding of myself—and the term. (Hamilton 103)

Therefore while some people might consider Saroyan a humanist since his works center on the human condition, he did not classify himself that way.



Hamalian, Leo. William Saroyan: The Man and the Writer Remembered. Rutherford [N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1987. Print.

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