The Man Who Lived Underground Essay

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In the following essay, Meyer examines the events that lead to the protagonist's identity formation in "The Man Who Lived Underground." The story's lesson, Meyer indicates, is that self-realization occurs only upon "acceptance of one's responsibility in an absurd world"

In Richard Wright's short story "The Man Who Lived Underground" the hero's quest for identity involves his struggle for meaning in an absurd world which, although covered with pretensions of order and meaning, is more fundamentally marked by chaos, disorder, and blind materialism. The hero achieves his identity, however, only when his experiences underground convince him both that It is futile to expect to find meaning in an irrational world and that he must accept social responsibility despite the absurdity of human existence. Fred Daniels finds his identity when he realizes that all men are guilty because they possess an inherently evil nature and when he accepts the...

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This section contains 1,862 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Man Who Lived Underground Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Man Who Lived Underground from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.