Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It’s strange to think that existentialism and pop culture could be similar in any way

By Melina

It’s strange to think that existentialism and pop culture could be similar in any way. Connecting those ideas are difficult, especially if the ties are obscured. Unbelievably, these two are kinda close in a weird way. Tom Stoppard wrote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, an existentialist play. It’s a different point of view for Hamlet, seen through the eyes of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. If you're wondering what this has to do with anything that's happening right now, existentialism can actually still be seen in modern society.

Maybe existentialism is easier to see if we focus on celebrity deaths. A morbid topic but important for this conversation. It seems that the only time the public actually ponders death and what comes after, is if someone that's loved by that public dies. Celebrities are treasured in our society, which isn't really a big deal. Except we treasure them the most when they pass away. That's not our fault, sometimes we get so caught up in living we tend to forget what comes after for all of us. That's also not our fault and it's also not a bad thing. Sometimes we'll think about existentialism at random moments with no explanation of why it entered our brain, but it's depth can be limited. The death of a celebrity can be a very clear reminder that time, for everyone, is limited.

In Rosencratz and Guildenstern are dead, Guildenstern says something kind of peculiar.
“A man breaking his journey between one place and another at a third place of no name, character, population, or significance sees a unicorn cross his path and disappear. That in itself is startling, but there are precedents for mystical encounters of various kinds, or to be less extreme, a choice of persuasions to put it down to fancy; until-”My God” says a second man, “I must be dreaming, I thought i saw a unicorn,” at which point, a dimension is added that makes the experience as alarming as it will ever be. A third witness, you understand, adds no further dimension but only spreads it thinner, and a fourth thinner still, and the more witnesses there are the thinner it gets and the more reasonable it becomes until it is as thin as reality, the name we give to the common experience…”Look, look,” recites the crowd. “A horse with an arrow in its forehead! It must have been mistaken for a deer.”

Sometimes we become so familiar with the things and people that surround we forget that at one point, it was all wonderfully new. It was all foreign. However, as time passed and we were able to become more and more acquainted with everything that had a part to play in our lives, the wonder started to wear off. It slipped quietly away, along with our fears of what lay under our beds and the silly bedtime stories. The world's biggest mystery, what happens after death, is solved by everyone but no one lives to tell the tale.

In pop culture, existentialism isn’t really a popular topic but it does still exist. It just breaks through more when someone like David Bowie passes away. There’s bands that sing about and artists that paint it. But our culture doesn't focus on it like it used to. Live in the moment, right?  ... YOLO

Friday, March 11, 2016


By Kendall

If you haven’t read Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, I suggest you do, because in all honesty, it is a really good book to read. In this book, a lot of events happen that also take place in the book Hamlet, but this book goes more into depth about just Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s life and their journey.

As you read throughout this book, you will notice that a lot of things they say are examples of foreshadowing. There is a scene where they come upon a play that the Tragedians were doing and this play that the people were doing was actually deciding Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s fate, but they were to oblivious to realize that anything like that was going on. As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern continue their journey, they also flip a coin multiple times and every time they flipped it the coin landed on heads. They didn’t realize that the coin was deciding their fate either because their death ties into the symbolism of their coin flipping. The play that the Tragedians did also reflect on the play in Hamlet with the events in Elsinore and The Murder of Gonzago. Rosecrantz and Guildenstern are also just really confused people because from the start to about the middle of the book they don’t even know their own names let alone the foreshadowing happening around them. Even in the play that was shown, there was nothing in there that would’ve explained why Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will be sentenced to their death, because it doesn’t show that they did anything did wrong.

I would suggest this book to anyone who would want to read a book like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. In all honesty, I didn’t think that I would actually be fascinated in this book at first, but as we went through and read it the book really caught my attention. When we first started reading, I thought it was going to just be super slow and not attention-grabbing, but it gives you a lot more knowledge of their journey and a different perspective on the story of Hamlet. There is a lot of events that happen throughout this book, some take a turn for good and some not so much. I think that this is a very enjoyable book once you grasp the characters and what they say means, you really start to engage and relate to the characters’ mindset. You, of course, would want to read Hamlet first to grasp the plot and all the characters, and the relations between all of them. Hamlet is a little harder to understand because it is not written in our language to where we can fully understand it, but Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is written to where it is so much easier to get the full effect of the book. I also think that all the foreshadowing in this book is really fascinating because you don’t really know that it is foreshadowing something until that event occurs. I really think this book will take people by surprise, and I think it is a good shorter book to read and get into.