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Paper Topic:

Existentialism in The Etnographer




4 March 2008

Use of Existentialism to Define the Essence of the Protagonist in the Book `The Ethnographer ' by Jorge Luis Borges


Fred Murdock , Jose Luis Borges ' protagonist in The Ethnographer reminds one of the last lines of Albert Camus ' essay Between Yes and No ' in his collection of essays The Wrong Side and the Right Side which says

Yes , everything is simple . It 's men who complicate things . Don 't let them tell us any stories . Don 't let them say about the

man condemned to death "He is going to pay his debt to society " but "They 're going to chop his head off " It may seem like nothing . But it does make a little difference . There are some people who prefer to look their destiny straight in the eye (Camus

In the end , the protagonist laid claim to his life , he opted to appropriate his life unto himself , and as it were to look at his destiny straight in the eye (Camus

Existentialist Propositions

The existentialist propositions will define the essence of Fred Murdoch the Protagonist - as his character deliberately moves from a state where his existence was not owned to one wholly-owned with commitment . Three existentialist propositions are clearly at play in the story and albeit they are neither ed chronologically nor proceeding in the of their importance to the story , they define the character of our protagonist in the end . They are to wit (i ) to be a person is to respond to the call to be authentic (ii ) existence precedes essence and (iii ) man is anguish

To be a person is to respond to the call to be authentic

The story is about Fred Murdock , an ethnographer , one who is a specialist in ethnography and ethnography being the of the races of mankind (The New Webster Dictionary of the English Language 324 . Ethnography as a specific discipline deals with groups of people classified according to ethnicity . People are dealt with as groups amorphous , nameless , faceless mobs whose sole claim to uniqueness is their difference from or similarity with other groups . Oddly or aptly enough , however one views it , the story begins with a of the protagonist according to his racial features

His name was , I believe , Fred Murdock . He was tall , in the HYPERLINK "http /www .everything2 .org /index .pl ?node American " \o "American American way , his hair was neither blond nor black , he had a pro like an HYPERLINK "http /www .everything2 .org /index .pl ?node axe " \o "axe " axe , and he was a man of few words . There was nothing strange about him , not even the fictitious strangeness that is typical of young people . Naturally respectful , he did not have doubts about books or the people that write the books . His was the age when man still doesn 't know who he is , and he is ready to deliver himself to what change proposes (Borges

He doesn 't seem to have any individuality at the...

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