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RE: [existlist] huis clos

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  • Eduard Alf
    I don t see Sartre as being an absurdist. Perhaps the thought of saving each other is only a momentary reflection on the part of Garcin. In the end of the play
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 29, 2001
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      I don't see Sartre as being an absurdist.

      Perhaps the thought of saving each other is only a momentary reflection on
      the part of Garcin.

      In the end of the play he says, "Well, well, lets get on with it".

      But in the French he says, "Eh bien, continuons". My understanding of
      French is not all that great. However, I am reading it as different from
      the English.

      In the book there are notes as to what is happening. After Garcin laughs
      and says, "Pour toujours [for ever], the note states ... they fell back onto
      their lounge seats. There is a long silence. They ceased laughing and
      looked at each other. Garcin rises, and says the words "Eh bien,
      continuons". The English of "Well, well, lets get on with it" seem upbeat.
      As if Garcin has a change of mind. That they are in a bad situation, but
      they might as well get on with it. In the French, I am reading it more
      darkly. As if Garcin were to say, "Oh well, we might as well continue as
      best we can". To me this seems to make more sense. There is a certain
      resignation. It fits with my thought that the title of "No Exit" does not
      really capture the sense of the play. To say that there is no exit, implies
      that there might be the possibility of an exit if something changed. And in
      the North American mind, possibilities are always possible. Perhaps the
      play should have been called something like, "Buried Alive, Forever".

      In saying, "Eh bien, continuons", I am seeing something very dark. Catholic
      if you will. Certainly European. It also serves as serves as a signal
      which separates the audience from the actors. For the duration of the play,
      the audience has been given a special capability see into this hidden
      chamber in which the lighting may fail as does the button for calling the
      valet. Garcin could as well be saying "continuons" to the audience. That
      they are to cease seeing into the chamber and are to continue with their own
      lives, as the living. I think that that is hard to take for a North
      American audience. We want to empathize and identify with our actors. We
      want to know that somehow they will be ok. That Estelle could simply click
      her heels together and she will be back in Kansas. But that is not to
      happen here. It is not Sartre's message. The actors are buried forever.
      Get used to it. Its Hell !!

      I wonder, how we should take this from an existentialist point of view. So
      far we have discussed the philosophy of making choices and thereby our
      environment. Yet here, Sartre seems to put an ultimate boundary upon
      choices. Is he trying to say something more. That there are limits to what
      we can do. Garcin, Inez and Estelle can only make choices within the
      confines of their chamber. There is no possibility of choosing to stay or
      to go. They must stay and choices are limited to the mundane such as what
      color of lounge chair to pick. They are even robbed of the choice to kill
      each other, since of course, they are already dead.

      comments?

      eduard





      -----Original Message-----
      From: Ryan Dewald [mailto:rdewald@...]
      Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 8:11 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [existlist] huis clos


      At least a big part of what makes their predicament so hellish the effect
      each has on the others. The hell is a psychological one. They have
      chairs,
      they have objects. A physical hell would be fire and brimstone. This
      physical location is only hellish to the characters on a psychological
      front
      (that is they may not like the decore, but it isn't melting their skin
      away
      or anything).

      Thus if they can find a way to become best friends instead of mortal
      enemies, then they could make eachother's existence bearable. Though even
      the best of friends would find a confined area less than paradise I
      imagine.

      Or perhaps Garcin was referring to the possibility of the others being
      able
      to "save" eachother from their personal shortcomings. As Christ forgave
      sins, so to perhaps could each person forgive and love the others despite
      the terrible things they had done in life. They could be the confessional
      priest or the unyielding lover to the others.

      In the context of the play it is absurd and I think that was the point.
      Hence, a comedy.

      Ryan

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Eduard Alf [mailto:yeoman@...]
      Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 6:34 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [existlist] huis clos


      Yes, I would think the same thing.

      But if they are nice to each other, what would that obtain? It is still
      three people in that small room. Only enough space for a set of lounge
      chairs. Would not even being nice, eventually turn into a hell? Or is
      Sartre thinking of a sort of purgatory and the residents have yet to
      actually die? But then how would Garcin know this, if it were true?

      eduard
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Ryan Dewald [mailto:rdewald@...]
      Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 7:34 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [existlist] huis clos


      "What did you think of the part where
      Garcin is speaking about the possibility
      that they could save each other. What
      does this mean in the context that they
      are in that room. Would it imply that
      they could get out of the room in which
      they are effectively buried?"

      Fantastic question! I thought of it from this angle:
      Garcin was proposing that instead of tormenting eachother, they could,
      instead, fulfill eachother's needs effectively converting their hell to
      a
      heaven, or at least something better than a hell.

      Ryan



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