Absolutes at the abyss : ethical commitment in the writings of Sartre, Ionesco, Camus, Hemingway, and Yeats
Caravello, Joseph P.
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The problem I address is whether or not modern man is capable of creating a workable and human ethic without the aid of any directive absolute external to himself. The problem invites my attention simply because of the discernible breakdown of many traditionally conceived absolutes. I approach the problem, through the testimony of a selected body of modern literature. The work of Sartre and Ionesco indicates that the man deprived of all directive absolutes is totally unable to salvage his existence. The work of Camus, Hemingway, and Yeats, however, takes an antithetical tack and holds that such a man is in fact capable of creating a positive workable ethic. Hence, while modern literature does not everywhere hold out hope for contemporary man, neither does it universally despair of him.