A Girl like Phyl Essay

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Perkins is a professor of American and British literature and film. In the following essay, she examines existential themes in the story.

Scholars have noted Patricia Highsmith’s appreciation of John-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, especially their exploration of existentialism, a philosophical movement that had its beginnings in the writings of nineteenth-century, Danish theologian Søren Kierkegaard. In the twentieth century, existentialism evolved into an influential movement through the work of Sartre (Nausea, 1938) and Camus (The Stranger, 1942). Existentialist philosophy, according to Oxford Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms, defines human freedom “in terms of individual responsibility and authenticity.” This dictionary explains the philosophy’s main premise as the belief that “human beings have no given essence or nature but must forge [their] own values and meanings in an inherently meaningless or absurd world of existence.” Russell Harrison notes in his biography of...

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This section contains 1,244 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Girl like Phyl Study Guide
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