The Search for Meaning in The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Frankenstein, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Road Not Taken

The Search for Meaning in The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Frankenstein, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Road Not Taken

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Elusive as it may be, the human race has, and will always, search for meaning. The need for this fulfillment is a fundamental part of the human condition for man and woman alike; however, gaining one’s definition is a mysterious and arduous task. The path to finding meaning is often treacherously opaque and deceptive, so when someone believes they have solved the riddle of gaining fulfillment, they are prone to advertise their findings. Based on the ideas presented though The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy, Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman, and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, there is one truth regarding the search for meaning: meaning is not found though societies norms.
When searching for one’s meaning, the biggest deceptive pressures come from society. The deceptive pressures of society are detrimental. They are detrimental not only because they do not provide meaning the person is looking for, but they also cause a significant amount of collateral damage. This is seen most prevalently in The Yellow Wallpaper. In this story, a woman has a high level of anxiety. She then is treated for it by the popular treatment of the day. Saying “So I take phosphates or phosphites—whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, an am absolutely forbidden to ‘work’ until I am well again, Personally, I disagree with their ideas” (Gilman 1), she admits that she is letting society make decisions for her, even though she thinks their ideas are bad. During this treatment, she slowly loses her mind, and finally becomes insane. The woman in this story surrenders her freedom and sanity to society. She may have been alright...


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...sent different ideas of what meaning and how to achieve it, they agree on the point that it is not found by strictly adhering to the guidelines and ideals of society.



Works Cited
Frost, Robert. "1. The Road Not Taken. Frost, Robert. 1920. Mountain Interval." Bartleby.com: Great Books Online. Web. .
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print.
Shelly, Mary. Frankenstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. Print.
Tolstoy, L. N., Ronald Wilks, Anthony Briggs, and David McDuff. The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories. London: Penguin, 2008. Print.
"The Yellow Wallpaper." Etext.virginia.edu. University of Virginia Library, 1997. Web. .

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