Freedom and commitment in Jean-Paul Sartre's Les chemins de la liberte
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
1. Introduction (i) A summary of the main aspects of Sartre's philosophical theories, especially those which relate to the concepts of freedom and commitment. (ii) A brief discussion of Sartre’s theories on the novel. 2. L'Age de raison: "la vaine liberté" (i) The importance of technique in advancing Sartre's aims in the novel; in this case, his use of the multiple point of view approach. (ii) Initial discussion of the principal characters and their relevance to the main themes of the novel. 3. Le Sursis: "la liberté, en situation" (i) Sartre's skilful use of the technique of "simultaneity." (ii) Daniel Sereno and the significance of the "le regard" motif in advancing Sartre's aims. (iii) Reasons why Le Sursis is more successful than L'Age de raison in terms of Sartre's aims. 4. La Mort dans l'âme: "La Liberté, c'est la terreur." (i) Final examination of the characters and their progress (if any) along their "chemins de la liberté." (ii) Mathieu's decision to stand and fight: discussion of the degree to which he has "succeeded" in terms of Sartre's philosophy. (iii) Discussion of how Sartre divides this volume into virtually two separate novels, and the reasons why this is a serious weakness in the work. 5. Conclusion (i) Sartre's reasons for abandoning Les Chemins de la liberté. (ii) Sartre fails to observe his own rules about novel-writing. (iii) Serious faults in Sartre's characterisation, especially his failure to create convincing characters, and the consequent lack of human interest in the novel. (iv) Despite several impressive features (effective depiction of minor characters; technical skill; ability to depict an atmosphere of evil and decay), Les Chemins de la liberté falls considerably short of achieving Sartre's clearly defined aims.