Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Myth of Sisyphus Class Discussion Period 5


After skimming your Williams papers, I think we need a little more work on developing thesis statements for explication--after all, if your thesis lacks depth, your paper probably will as well. Please refer to handout on explications--and remember that your thesis must show HOW meaning is developed through writing. This is a hard concept by the way--and if you are having trouble with it, it is because it is a really hard thing to master. You are certainly not alone here, but we still need to figure it out.

This post is worth 20 points:
It is due by Friday at 3:00p.m.
  • 5 points for--generating a successful thesis statement.
  • 5 points for--explaing why one of your peer's thesis statements is successful. (You may need to post twice if you are one of the first to go.) I want some depth here--not just language from a rubric. I want an explanation of WHY the thesis staement is one of depth.
  • 10 points for--a continuation of something from class discussion. Just like last time, there should be some depth here (I think 250 words is a minimum) and you should be providing specific textual evidence to analyze. Let's work on integrating the evidence here this time instead of pasting large chunks of text in the post.

PERIOD 5 POST HERE PERIOD 5 POST HERE PERIOD 5 POST HERE

24 comments:

Doris T5 said...

In Camus’ essay, “The Myth of Sisyphus”, Camus provides the use of symbolism to illustrate that in life, continuous hope of achieving a goal and overcoming a strenuous struggle is only tragic because aiming for a better choice than the one given is absurd. In the myth itself, a man named Sisyphus is doomed to repeat the same task over and over again because he defied the gods. His task of rolling a rock up and down the mountain symbolizes how doing something over and over again to generate a different outcome is only torment and dissatisfaction. Believing in overcoming that obstacle is tragic. The tone of Camus remains elusive until the end when he makes his last statement of the myth. This statement brings the essay to a close and allows the reader to fully comprehend his meaning. Appropriately it is at the end when Sisyphus realizes his consequences and accepts his fate. This is essential to the fact of Sisyphus being a tragic hero.

Angela S5 said...

The Myth of Sisyphus
In the essay the “Myth of Sisyphus”, Camus suggests that in life suffering is inescapable and also that one can not be happy without feeling sorrow at one point in their life. He reveals this through his imagery of the rolling rock which represents life and suffering. When Sisyphus is pushing his rock he is struggling and suffering, but once he reaches the top of the mountain he has attained happiness. The rock than falls to the bottom of the mountain and Sisyphus must continue this routine. This reveals that in life one must feel suffering in order to feel happiness.

Doris thesis is well written and I agree with her statement. I like her idea, but she may want to word in it in a different way so that it is easier to understand. Also she might want to discuss what Camus is symbolizing in order to express the “absurd” in her thesis.


In class Chris O. started to discuss the quotation that “there is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night”(4). I believe that this is an important part of the essay and suggests that in life one cannot feel happiness without suffering and vice versa. The “sun” represents beauty, warmth and the ultimate happiness. But when you think about it, the sun isn’t always shining. Sometimes it cast shadows due to the clouds covering it. Also, the sun must go away when it is night time and “night” represents suffering. The shadow, or the “middle course”, from “Deadulus and Icarus”, represents the time in life when one accepts their place in the world and is not necessarily happy or unhappy. The sun represents the time in life when one is overly happy and this may cause them to be overly proud and than cause their downfall. In the end they will end up knowing the night and the consequences of suffering. Also sun, shadows, and the night are almost like a cycle. The sun comes up, cast shadows, and finally it becomes night, than this is repeated every single day. This symbolizes that life is a cycle in which people must suffer in order to be happy. There will be ups and downs and in betweens, but one can not avoid them because they are a part of life.
Another quotation which connects to the one above is “…a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling”(4). This quotation implies that the night is ever lasting and this suggests that suffering also has no end. If someone who is blind wants to see and already knows of the suffering in this world, than he will continue to suffer because he is not accepting his fate and place in life. This is a person who can not accept their fate and therefore there “rock”, representing life, still “rolls”, representing the suffering in life. Overall Camus is suggesting that suffering is inescapable and one will become content once they accept their destiny and place in life.

Wendy C.5 said...

In the essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus suggests that sufferings in life occurs in one point or another for everyone and it is best to feel optimistic about it. Suffering in life is inevitable. Everyone cannot escape it and only can be burden by it. Camus demonstrate that through Sisyphus’s task and his wording of the myth. Sisyphus was given the “futile and hopeless labor” (1) of rolling a rock that would always fall back down on its own continuously up a hill. The rock itself represents his burden of suffering and sin. He feels happiness when it is on the top, but suffering when it rolls down. “One must imagine Sisyphus happy” (5) because it is hopeless to dwell on sorrow because it never end. Being optimistic and positive, the task and the suffering can be overcome and the man would be “superior to his fate” (2).

Angela’s thesis is well written and I agree with her about happiness and sorrow because it is like that everything that is good must have a bad side to it. It is similar to a balance between both good and bad. She has great ideas supporting her thesis.

In class, someone discussed that once one realize that their hope are crashing down on them they will be happy to explain why we must “imagine Sisyphus happy.” (5) I take from that statement as if the person might as well think of it in a positive way because hopelessness will just cause more suffering and agony similar to how Camus stated, “Boundless grief is too heavy to bear.” (3) Another person in the class said, “He is not exactly happy, but it is a pointless emotion”. Emotions are useless for an inevitable and endless suffering, but facing a task with the lack of emotion makes it look more like tedious work. Sisyphus accepted his fate because it is inevitable. For us to imagine Sisyphus like that, it is as if Sisyphus still is defying the god and tormenting them. In addition, someone mentioned from the quote “he is superior to his fate” in page 2 of him pushing pass the fate. It is as if he surpass his suffering. Even though he is the tragic hero, He still beat the gods for being happy with his futile task. The gods are known to provide everything to humans, but for a person to think of them in “a certain levity” (1) is a great sin. The gods give this task to crush him mentally and leaving him with no hope. For him to be happy, it makes the gods’ plan fruitless. Sisyphus would ruin their hope of tormenting him for belittling them. Overall Camus is trying to state that happiness is a way out of the pain of suffering.

Kev.Tran 5. said...

In “The Myth of Sisyphus”, Camus reveals that finding meaning is life a hopeless an meaningless process itself; yet, man finds a kind of comfort, or happiness, in creating hope when there is no hope or meaning. Camus shows Sisyphus’ hopelessness through his ultimatum, to roll a rock up a hill just to let it roll back down for the rest of eternity. In the end, Camus sums up the idea of happiness in hopelessness in the last statement of his essay, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy” (4).

Wendy’s thesis is nicely explained through textual evidence, though, it would be nice if she expanded a little more on the though of why/how Sisyphus would be happy/sad depending on the location of the rock.

In class, Andrew and many others emphasized on the meaning of Sisyphus’ punishment to push the boulder up a hill. People talked about when Sisyphus knows he’s happy and sad trough his re-experience of life and then being punished by the gods. I wanted to expand on this idea of happiness, but during Sisyphus’ punishment. Sisyphus finds comfort in knowing that rolling a rock up a hill is a task that he’s able to do, yet he also knows the fate of the boulder is to roll back down the hill. . Sisyphus’ hope is formed from the mere task of rolling a rock up the hill. Being able to roll the rock up is his foundation of hope. “One must imagine Sisyphus happy” (5). Sisyphus’s punishment is an endless one. Man often tries to answer the question of “what is the meaning of life”, or “what is our purpose in life”. Man is constantly perplexed about what is purpose is in life, and so is Sisyphus. Sisyphus is constantly trying to find hope or meaning in his task, but he cannot find a meaning for his existence. Sisyphus’ fate is settled for eternity and until Sisyphus rolls the boulder up the hill, his purpose for that time is just to roll the rock. Although it’s hopeless to actually reach the top, Sisyphus’ small amount of hope keeps him content even though in the end the task is meaningless as the boulder will drop back down the hill. There is no other way to picture Sisyphus in any way except for happy. Readers “must” (5) imagine Sisyphus happy. He constantly pushes the rock forward and up the hill. Sisyphus is content that he is able to have a solid purpose that he can see and feel, the rock. This solid purpose is unlike the non existent abstract purpose man attempts.

Kristin D. 5 said...

In Camus’s essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus introduces the possibility that life is meaningless. Camus’s interpretation of the myth reflects of the idea of absurdity and how giving meaning to life in ways such as socially of religiously, is inevitably pointless because in the end death is terminal. Camus’s suggests that happiness arises from absurdity when one learns and accepts death. Although Sisyphus’s futile punishment is meant to be eternal and torturous Camus’s is able to help readers view Sisyphus as a happy man because he was able to come to terms with his punishment.
I agree with Angela’s thesis statement. I think it’s very true that Camus’s uses imagery of the rock as suffering. I don’t really agree on the point that she was getting at on how Camus’s tries to show that suffering must be felt in order to feel happiness because I feel that he was getting more at the fact that death must be accepted as an “end all” type of thing. Happiness is achieved when life is accepted to have no meaning because living no matter what kind of life is led the fate of life is death. Although I don’t agree on how Angela chose the word “suffering” I understand at what she was trying to say because she does a great job at backing up her thesis.
I was not in class for the class discussion section but things that might have been talked about would probably be quotes on how Sisyphus’s punishment of rolling a rock up a mountain can be directly related to absurdity. “One sees merely the whole effort of a body straining to raise the huge stone . . . at the very end of his long effort . . . purpose is achieved…then Sisyphus’s watches the stone rush down in a few moments toward that lower world” (2) In this quote the stone that Sisyphus is pushing symbolizes how people struggle through life to find meaning. The stones heaviness and the burden it takes to push it up a huge mountain shows how hard and troubling it is to find meaning. All the end of trying so hard to push the rock up the mountain as soon as it reaches the top the rock just falls back down. The rock falling back down is symbolizing how finding meaning to life is pointless just as how rolling a rock up a mountain is pointless because in the end the rock just falls again, death is final. Sisyphus finds his happiness in acceptance of his situation “One must imagine Sisyphus as happy” (5). He accepted his fate because he made himself the master of his fate “His fate belongs to him. His rock is his thing” (4). By taking death into prospective and accepting his punishment he eliminates the suffering and torture that comes with his punishment. “The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory” (3) In this quote the crown symbolizes accomplishment. It is clear that the reason for his punishment was a result of his wrong-doings. Another reason for his punishment, when taken into his own view and put into his own mindset can be set as an accomplishment.

Ronald d5 said...

In the manuscript of “The Myth of Sisyphus” Albert Camus suggests that there possibly is no real meaning to life and that as humans, it is pointless gesture to go looking for this religious or universal meaning. Camus uses Sisyphus as his prime example of this. Sisyphus, a human, is punished for “a certain levity in regards to the gods (1)” and has to perform a futile task of pushing a rock up a hill repeatedly. This in itself reflects the ideas absurdism. Camus suggests that death is at the end of every person’s life but people still go on looking for this purpose but it is pointless because the people all end up the same, dead, but the pursuit of the purpose can possibly hold meaning. Sisyphus along his endless task finds sadness and joy. According to Camus there’s no sun without shadow which is that there is no joy with out pain. Camus proposes that Sisyphus is happy when he acknowledges the pain of what his life has come down to as he doomed in the underworld.

I think this Kristen has a great thesis because it answers all the questions that a thesis should answer. She clearly mentions that the text is about Camus interpretation of the Myth of Sisyphus and absurdism. Then she goes along to tell us that it is pointless to find a meaning in life which explains what the author is trying to say about absurdism. I personally like the way she wrote her thesis. The sentences are consistent with each other and all connect although there is not too much depth in this thesis. It would be nice if Kristen could expanded more on how happiness arises from absurdity when one learns to accept death and how Camus helps the reader understand how Sisyphus can be viewed as a happy man.

During the class discussion, Derek mentioned how Sisyphus only has to roll a rock and that it isn’t so bad a punishment so he’s happy and relieved and I do not necessarily believe that. I think that Sisyphus is happy and also sad at times. Camus writes “If the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it can also take place in joy. (3)” This shows if Sisyphus can walk down the hill in sorrow, he can walk down the hill in joy also. So he would most likely do both since as humans we know happiness doesn’t last forever and that the word sometimes tells us that he is not happy nor sad all the time. Also I disagree with the fact of why he is happy. I do not believe that he is relieved that his punishment is not too harsh but that he is happy by the fact that he has accepted his punishment. The purpose of the rock is to make him feel sorrow and that is his punishment. Camus writes “When the images of earth cling too tightly to memory, when the call for happiness becomes too insistent, it happens that melancholy rises in man’s heart: this is the rock’s victory, (3)” This is Camus explanation for why Sisyphus is feeling the sorrow. He misses the life back on earth and being happy on earth and the rock prevents him from doing that so the rock is the victor since it is serving its purpose. Then Camus writes “But crushing truths perish from being acknowledged. (3)” which is Camus explanation of the joy Sisysphus is feeling. When Sisyphus realizes that happiness and earth is not attainable, the thought of it stops hurting and joy in itself is found when this fact is acknowledged.

Chris O5 said...

Albert Camus present the idea that the human emotions are not demonstrated unless there is an opposite force to back one of the existing forces because one has to know both sides of anything before the other thing can exist. He contradicts the very idea of absurdism throughout the entire essay where one believes that there is nothing to live for and that life is void of meaning. Albert Camus uses his diction to present the idea that absurdism can never exist because there is always a force that is opposite that has to be there for the other one to exist.

I believe that the peer’s thesis is very successful because they get the reader who might just be reading something for the first time or has no idea of what the writing or painting is about or even the story. They explain to the audience what the paper is going to be about. Also the writer captivates what the author of a piece of writing or the painter was trying to focus on.

In the class discussion it was interesting how the class kept referring back to the idea of absurdism where the people believe that there is nothing to live for and that life is void of meaning. Albert Camus showed the idea is very contradicting because throughout the discussion people brought great points where the idea was being contradicted such as when Camus wrote “ Unconscious, secret calls, invitations from all the faces, they are the necessary reverse and price of victory. There us no sun without shadow and it is essential to know the night.” (Pg 4) Camus demonstrates in his writing especially in the quote is that when a person doesn’t conscious that in the inside there is something that is telling the opposite force that someone is saying such as the very idea that there is no void in meaning? Camus goes on with the idea that without a shadow or darkness there can’t be a form of light and that the light is just as important as the night. This contradicts the very idea of absurdism because the people who believe the idea are still thinking about life in the back of their minds because if they really thought of their lives not having any means then they would just end up committing suicide. The classes seem to be well in focus with the idea of Sisyphus and his punishment that he got for the crimes that he had committed. The class had discussed that the punishment and his crime was that he kept information from Aesopus after Jupiter kidnapped his daughter. Also how Sisyphus had put death in chains and thus angering the gods and getting the punishment that the gods thought was well fit for the crime that he committed. The class was discussing if the rock has a bigger meaning than just pushing a rock up the hill and then having the rock roll back down the hill and have Sisyphus roll the rock back up the hill. The class had a really good point that the rock could be seen as life itself and that him pushing it up the hill can have significance to the struggle that one confronts throughout life. I liked the allusion that Angela made with Gethsemane that it was a guardian and that he made a promise to Jesus and how Camus describes that the promise the Sisyphus made to the gods for the crimes that he made and he goes on saying “ But crushing truths perish from being acknowledged” ( pg 3) this passage could be interpreted as that when a person when a person is to accept their punishment no matter what it is then the punishment is no longer a punishment and they will just fade away and accept it as a way of life.

Ricki L5 said...

In the essay, “The Myth of Sisyphus” by Albert Camus, Camus suggests that life is absurd and full of futile efforts but one must find happiness in life even when it all seems worthless. Camus uses Sisyphus as an example, since Sisyphus must roll a rock up a hill, only to watch it fall, for the rest of eternity. However, Camus describes Sisyphus as he “…gradually sinks towards the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock” (2). Even though Sisyphus’ labor is futile, much like our existence, he accepts his fate, and finds no sorrow in his endless task. Camus ends his essay on a note that “One must imagine Sisyphus happy” (5).

I believe that Kristin’s thesis statement is well thought out and connects to ideas to the text. I agree with her interpretation of the essay, which is life is meaningless but when one accepts death, they can find happiness. I believe her thesis ties in with the fact that Sisyphus accepts his fate and he shows neither sorrow nor pain. I agree with the idea of absurdity that she uses and that it is the main focus of the essay. Life is absurd, yet happiness comes from accepting our ultimate fate.

In class, we discussed tragic heroes, and that Mersault and Sisyphus are very similar concerning their fates and their view thereon after. In The Stranger, Mersault is sentenced to death, yet he accepts the fact that he is going to die, and he is happy with his own reasons of existence. Sisyphus also was given a punishment for his actions, yet he accepts his fate of rolling a rock up a hill, and does not find sorrow. Several times in class, we discussed how Camus basically tells the reader that one finds happiness when they accept the futility of labor and life. Even though we are all going to die, and everything we’ve done in this life will mean nothing, we still can find joy in living.

Mark D5 said...

In Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus, he explores through strong imagery how people feel when their ultimate fate is death and they know that there is no point to living. Sisyphus is a perfect character to show pointlessness in life because he was summoned to an eternity of “Futile and Hopeless labor” (1). The Gods say that hopeless work that has no reward in the end is the worst of all punishments. Camus is connecting this pointless work as life. Sisyphus is a symbol of working hard all throughout ones life only to die and have no rewards in the afterlife.

I believe Kevin’s thesis seemed like the most successful. He found the meaning in Albert Camus essay and strongly supported what he thought. Others used words as “possibly” and words that didn’t show true devotion to the thesis but Kevin’s seems to stand strong.

Ronald brought up a good point in the group discussion about consciousness and unconsciousness in the story and what would be better for the tragic hero. When the classed discussed the reason for the myth to be tragic Ronald stated “The myth is tragic because of consciousness”(5). Sisyphus is put through such a hardship because he is aware of it all. He knows exactly what the rock will do each and every single time he gets it up to the top. “The struggle itself toward the height is enough to fill a man’s heart.” Sisyphus does not have hope and might think that maybe one day he will finally get to the top and he will be done. He was sentenced to an eternity of hopeless labor. But then the class discussed what the reason for Sisyphus’ happiness was. It does not matter if Sisyphus is happy it is the reason he can deal with the fact that he is eternally rolling a rock for no purpose. There can never be happiness in it but there can be a way to deal with it. “Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling.” (4). This powerful quotation explains how Sisyphus can continue rolling that rock with a filled heart. Camus is telling us that there is nothing after life but explains how people know this and still continue to have a smile on their faces. It is the struggle, it is the challenge, it is how everyone has their own rock to roll.

Doris T5 said...

I think that kristin's thesis was well thought out and to the point. She clearly states the purpose of Camus' essay. Then she goes on to mention that life is pointless and relates this to Camus' theory of Absurdism. Kristin does a superb job of integrating Camus' theory and how it relates to the text. She was able to indulge in the text and include it in the thesis.

ashley S5 said...

In the novel, “The Myth of Sisyphus”, written by Albert Camus, Camus uses Sisyphus to express the behaviors and morals of a tragic hero by symbolizing Sisyphus’ crime of defying the God’s from a negative event forming into a positive event. In the myth Sisyphus is condemned to rolling a rock up the mountain after defying the gods and revealing his fearless attitude towards the Gods. Even though the rock continuously rolls back on him, he puts in more effort to achieve his goal in reaching the top after each attempted failure. The morals of a tragic hero is making the best out of a negative situation and finding happiness by accepting one’s fate. Camus demonstrates this through the passage….. “The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious” (3). This passage is stating that when one who thinks about their fate in a negative way, will be a living a tragic lifestyle through their depression, hopeless, sadness attitude. Those who think in a positive attitude will live in a joyful and happy condition.

Angela’s thesis is well written and is backed up through textual evidence. She demonstrates her ideas by reflected it through Camus writing. She expresses her thesis statement by presenting her topic first and then her supporting her evidence. Even though she had a strong statement she should explain how Sisyphus expressed his happiness by accomplishing his goal of reaching the rock to the top of the mountain.

During class discussion a variety of classmates had mention the idea of the concept on finding happiness and the good in every tragic event. Andrew stated that “The moral of the Myth is to make the best out a bad situation; if someone thinks too much about the negativity of life then they will not have enough time to see the brightness and the greener grass on the other side.” His idea is reflected through the passage….. “If the myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him? The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moment when it becomes conscious” (3). It is life nature to go through sorrow and struggles but it is up to the human being to see the beauty of life and what it has to offer us or to only be blinded by the negativity and live through the darkness rather then to live in enlightenment. In addition, the class discussion was based on how Camus lends Sisyphus similar characteristics as well as difference in personality then Meursault. Both characters are found as tragic heroes who find happiness through their punishment of their sinful actions. Even though both were condemned to eternal darkness and their freedom taken away, they deal with their emotions differently. Danielle stated “Meursault took his punishment very well while Sisyphus tried to escape it by returning back to the surface of earth and refusing to return back to the underworld.” Overall the class agreed on through Camus writing, he reveals to the reader to accept one fate and to make each event benefit rather then doomed yourself into depression.

Rodney B5 said...

The Myth of Sisyphus

In “The Myth of Sisyphus”, Camus suggests that during life, one must know suffering to feel happiness. He presents this to the reader by giving the example of when Sisyphus realizes how much he loves being on earth instead of suffering in the underworld. He also presents this while Sisyphus is pushing the rock up the hill as his punishment but then receives happiness once he has reached the top. The cycle then continues when the rock falls back to the bottom and he must do it all over again.

Doris’s thesis is successful. She presents her ideas well and reveals new ideas about the essay. I understood all of her points but I had to read it a couple of times to understand what exactly she was trying to say. She may try to make her ideas a bit clearer but overall she did a good job.

Throughout our class discussion, a topic that constantly came up was if Sisyphus was happy or not. This is a very interesting topic. Sisyphus is put on his punishment by the gods. He must roll a rock up a hill for the rest of his life but at the same time it does not seem like a big punishment to him. “The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory.”(3) He has made the best of his punishment by accepting the fact that he has to do this. He struggles to roll the rock up the hill but once he has reached the top he gets a sense of joy but then the rock rolls back down the hill. Sisyphus knows that once he reaches the top of the hill he will have some satisfaction out of his punishment so in a way he has something to look foreword to. “If the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it can also take place in joy.”(3) This continues the theme that one must feel suffering in order to feel joy. Sisyphus feels both while rolling the rock up and down the hill. “When imagines of earth cling too tightly to memory, when the call of happiness becomes too insistent, it happens that melancholy rises in man’s heart…”(3) This is when he feels pain. The memory of earth and of what he had saddens him. But Sisyphus is strong enough to put these memories behind him. “But crushing truths perish from being acknowledged.”(3) He does what he has to do and only that. He tries to keep his memory out of his head to feel the joy of rolling the rock up the hill again and again. He realizes what he is forced to do and accepts it bringing him joy.

Doris T5 said...

I think that kristin's thesis was well thought out and to the point. She clearly states the purpose of Camus' essay. Then she goes on to mention that life is pointless and relates this to Camus' theory of Absurdism. Kristin does a superb job of integrating Camus' theory and how it relates to the text. She was able to indulge in the text and include it in the thesis.
During our class discussion last class, Ronald mentioned an interesting fact that made me think. After reading it over, I agreed with his statement. Ronald discussed consciousness and unconciousness and how it relates to the myth and Camus' explication of myth. He say's "The myth is tragic because of consciousness"(5). To be tragic is a major theme in most myths. Tragedy means to arouse pity and fear in audience so that we may be purged or cleansed of these emotions. Ronald believes that because e Sisyphus remained conscious through out the whole task led to his downfall. Sisyphus was very optimistic in achieving his goal of getting the rock up the mountain. Had he finally realized that there was no hope, Sisyphus was able to be happy instead of feeling tormented and dissatisfied. So overall when Sisyphus cleared his concious and rolled the rock up without thinking of his fate, Sisyphus is truly happy and rid of his struggle forever. But then the class discussed how he was happy and for what reason. His reason for rolling the rock up for no apparent reason was the big issue. But I agreed with Ronald in why Sisyphus was so tragic in his myth. His continuous hope of bringing the rock up the mountain is horrible because he thinks that he can beat his fate.

Janelle C. 5 said...

Thesis: In Camus’s essay, “The Myth of Sisyphus,” he suggests that it is possible to be happy in any situation, depending on how one looks at it. Camus shows this through his characterization of Sisyphus in his essay. Sisyphus is able to somehow maintain hope and happiness as he pushes his great rock up the side of the mountain, despite the fact that he knows it will only just fall right back down. Sisyphus then makes a decision, both conscious and unconscious at the same time. He chooses to train himself to be unconscious of the hopelessness of his situation, and he also makes a conscious decision to never show his unhappiness, if at any time he feels that way, because if he doesn’t show his unhappiness than the Gods have not completely defeated him.

Responding to Someone Else’s Thesis: I agree with Angela’s thesis statement, and I think it is a very interesting way of looking at Camus’s essay. Angela explained her idea very well, and brings in imagery to explain it also, which makes it that much easier to understand. She also analyzed the symbols very well.

Expanding on the Discussion: In our class discussion someone brought up the idea that if Sisyphus thinks about his fate; what he has to do day-to-day and the hopelessness in it, then that’s the torture of the punishment sent by the gods, but if he chooses to be unconscious of his daily routine, that is his rebellion against the Gods. Because if he is unconscious to what he is doing he can keep hope and find happiness in that. This ties into modernism. There is no point, no meaning to what Sisyphus has to do; he has to push a rock up a mountain repeatedly, everyday, for the rest of his life, “But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious. Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory,” (P.3 Paragraph 1). But if he decides to be unconscious of what he is doing and the fact that it is just a routine, then he can maintain hope and happiness and he is controlling his fate, “If the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it can also take place in joy,” (P.3 Paragraph 2). Modernism is when people try to find new ways to look at religion and whether or not their fates are predetermined or if they control them. Camus believes that Sisyphus is a modernist, by choosing to be happy, if even for nothing more than rebelling against and enraging the gods.

Kenneth M5 said...

Camus uses allusion in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus to suggest that knowing one’s fate leads to happiness, although knowing it is useless leads to our downfall. He mentions Oedipus, who knew his fate, and fulfilled his fate, but was happy until he realized he knew he fulfilled his fate. Jesus also knew that he would be crucified, but was happy leading until his realization of the closeness of his crucifixion in the garden of Gethsemane.

Kenneth M5 said...

Mark D has a great thesis because I can see where he rest of his paper would go from here. In my knowing Camus’ essay I see what evidence he may use, and understand what he is trying to say. He also cites specific evidence in his thesis without it seeming forced or illogical.

Kevin Ta 5 said...

In “The Myth of Sisyphus”, Albert Camus discusses his views and interpretations of the Greek myth of Sisyphus. He suggests that Sisyphus is a tragic hero, a man punished for his inherent tragic flaw. Despite the torture Sisyphus must face for the rest of eternity, Camus also implies that he is an absurd hero. To convey Sisyphus as this tragic absurd hero, Camus uses thoughtful diction and contextually rich vocabulary.

I think Ricki’s thesis is a successful take on the purpose of Camus’s essay. She begins with the idea of how Camus proposes that life is pointless and absurd, a deep and controversial topic, but despite the futile efforts, one must still find happiness. Ricki’s thesis is then reinforced with the example of Sisyphus and his eternal chore of pushing a rock up a hill. Although it is punishment by the gods, Ricki suggests that Sisyphus is not depressed by the endless task by using quotes from the second and fifth pages. This strong thesis and introductory paragraph can be expanded further in the subsequent explication.

During this week’s discussion on Albert Camus’s “The Myth of Sisyphus”, I noticed that many of my peers thought of the rock that Sisyphus has to ceaselessly push up a mountain as a symbol. Someone mentioned that the weight of the heavy rock can be compared to the weight of Sisyphus’s sin. His true sin, as explained by Mr. G, is how he takes the gods too lightly. Thus, the gods condemn Sisyphus to eternally rolling a rock up a mountain, only to watch it fall down again. Someone else stated that the falling rock is like the sins and downfall of Sisyphus. The tragic flaw of him not taking the gods seriously enough makes him a tragic hero. The majority of the class, however, expanded on the idea of Sisyphus’s happiness. According to the end of Camus’s essay, Sisyphus is happy. However, Steven asks how he is happy. Mark responded that once a person realizes that all hope is lost, he accepts his fate, and absurdism seems right. Thus, Sisyphus is happy. Despite his elation, the essay mentions how his joy is silent, to which Rodney asked why. William replied that since the gods give Sisyphus the worst punishment imaginable, he should remain silent, or else the gods would take notice and make the punishment even more unbearable. Andrew then compared this act of meaninglessly rolling a stone up a hill and doing it over and over again to the daily lives of most modern people today. Ronald argued, on the other hand, that since there is no torture in doing such daily tasks, it can not be considered punishment or absurdity. Humans, like Sisyphus, should accept fate, and by finding meaning in life, be happy.

William C5 said...

In the essay "The Myth of Sisyphus", by Albert Camus, Camus suggests that humans are able find happiness in life through purpose or meaning, regardless of the quality of that life. He demonstrates this through his analytical essay about Sisyphus where, Sisyphus, even though with the pointless, purposeless task of repetitively pushing a rock up a mountain only to have it fall down after reaching the peak, is given purpose. Camus describes Sisyphus's purpose, such that "the struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill [his] heart"(5). Camus stresses the fact that even though Sisyphus' life/heart may be full of sorrow and suffering at first, it is gradually replaced with his purpose of pushing the rock to the top of the mountain. Sisyphus becomes accustomed to his surroundings and his life and heart are filled with a single focus and purpose. Thus, according to Camus, "One must imagine Sisyphus happy"(5).

Ronald's thesis is successful in both depth and development. His introduction integrates evidence that flows well to support his thesis. He also includes sufficient background information regarding the myth of Sisyphus, so that his thesis becomes more understandable. It is also well worded.

During Wednesday's class discussion, one topic that arose was the mention of Sisyphus' purposelessness in pushing the rock to the top of the mountain, only to have it fall down every time it reached the peak. Many of the students interpreted Sisyphus’ purposeless task to relate to the lives of humans, where there is no meaning, no purpose in life. Yet, another view of this interpretation is that there is purpose is purposelessness itself. In away, this can be seen as absurd. Camus states that “at the very end of [Sisyphus’] long effort measured by skyless space and time without depth, the purpose is achieved”(2). He proposes a paradox, where Sisyphus achieves purpose when he pushes the rock to the top of the mountain, only to have it roll down and become purposeless. Thus, Sisyphus incessantly strives to fulfill his purpose, yet, every time that he does, it results in purposelessness again. So, I disagree with many views during the discussion. Instead of Sisyphus’ situation representing the meaninglessness in life, perhaps it indicates the purpose of achieving purpose, regardless of how fruitless efforts seem.

Kenneth M5 said...

Camus chose Sisyphus’ myth very specifically. He wanted to have someone is a very obviously pointless existence. No one could see a point in Sisyphus’ current condition This obviousness in his condition is then applied to the average “workman of today”(3). Camus sees they’re working as fruitless and pointless, just as Sisyphus. He wants us to understand that in the end we all die, we all have no further purpose. Camus also suggests that we “must imagine Sisyphus happy”(5) because he believes that only in understand the pointlessness of our existence can we truly be happy. If we know why we are here we can understand happiness. Camus also understands that most people would find the observation of a lack of purpose as “tragic“(3). Most people go through life wondering what life’s purpose is, because we need one to function, why we do things is more important that how. Once we understand that how is more important we can lead a better life. The reason why Sisyphus pushes the rock up the mountain is that the gods said so, however how he does it, as suggested by Camus, is happily. He knows his fate and lives to make it better. I hope that Camus is inaccurate in our lack of purpose, but the thought needs to provoked in order for you to make an educated decision to agree or disagree. Camus also brings up a concept of yin and yang. He says that “of the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it can also take place in joy”(3). He wants us to think that everything is about perception.

Caitlin H 5 said...

In “Myth of Sisyphus” by Albert Camus, Camus suggests that consciousness is emerged within reality, and this reality is miserable because of the realization of unceasing suffering. This pessimistic view on life makes one long for happiness, which only leads one down into further dismay. However, when one realizes all of this in their never-ending grief, they accept it as absurd and grow strong enough to feel a sort of comfort, if not happiness.

Kevin’s thesis and explanation of what Camus is trying to convey in “Myth of Sisyphus” is a really interesting theory. He does well at explaining what he’s trying to say. I think that it might’ve been more intriguing if Kevin perhaps added more textual evidence to support his claims, as this would’ve added more to the overall explanation.

As Ricki said, relating Mersault and Sisyphus is an interesting connection as they are both very similar concerning their views on fate and life and death. Mersault accepts his fate of being sentenced to death, and feels that loss of life is not something to be upset over. This is similar to Sisyphus accepting his fate of rolling a rock up a hill constantly forever and eternity, giving up his sorrow for a content view on the whole matter. Both end up feeling no sorrow for these depressing fates they are subjected to, and find even a bit of happiness about it. The view Camus is trying to establish is that, as Ricki stated, we live and we die, and it all means nothing in the end, and that because of this, there is no reason to be unhappy.

Stephanie P. 5 said...

Writer, Albert Camus, creates joy out of despair in his version of “The Myth Of Sisyphus. Camus uses the famous myth to contradict the common belief that punishment by a superior to the punished results in the suffering and unhappiness of the punished. Even though Sisyphus, the punished, receives this eternal labor of rolling a rock up a hill from the gods as his punishment but he still has his thoughts, his mind. Camus makes, the wise Sisyphus uses his mind as a retreat from his severe penalty contrary common version of the myth where Sisyphus’ punishment creates nonstop torment. Sisyphus finds the absurdness in the punishment. The idea that for one folly of this wise-man resulted in an everlasting penalty is absurd and Sisyphus has an eternity to think about this.
Ricky expresses her thesis well and I believe it was successful. She tires to express the meaning and write why the myth was used. Ricky provides some sort or evidence. Her thesis makes sense.
During class Ronald brought up the idea of consciousness, which I thought, was interesting. Consciousness is mention more than once in the myth and it seem like Camus does it for a good reason. “The hour like a breathing-space which return as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness” (pg.3), consciousness affects the suffering of Sisyphus. The conscious moment he endures seems to create suffering for him. I believe that Camus mentions consciousness so much to show that when conscious the mind obviously races. When Sisyphus is conscious his mind races about this certain punishment that is everlasting, on that he can’t forget and will forever control him. Camus writes, “If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious.” Consciousness plays an important part of this particular myth and punishment. If unconscious what would a physical punishment do? People are put to sleep during surgery for the purpose of having that patient feel no pain. Sisyphus has no control of his actions for eternity and is awake for that gruling labor.

Edmund H5 said...

The Myth of Sisyphus

In Albert Camus’ essay on “The Myth of Sisyphus”, Camus explains that in the absurdity of life man seeks control through the familiarity of order through the desire to experience life, under the possible threat of eternal punishment, and in spite of knowing the unenviable truth about life.
The hero’s desires to seek answers about his purpose by escaping back to the world of the living shows that experiences allows other emotions to be differentiated since, “there is no sun without shadow and it is essential to know the night”(4). He is fully aware of the crime for escaping his destiny in the underworld but it is his urges to find meaning that causes this action. When he is returned to his destiny it is then that he can find a sufficient answer to satisfy his curiosity.


In Stephanie P’s thesis I believe that her thesis needs to be cleaned up better since it was hard for me to understand what she is trying to prove. I believe it is the small grammatical errors in the thesis that needs to be fixed in order for it to be understood more clearly.


Chris O. pointed out “there is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night”(4). This quote is similar to the belief about yin-and-yang. Although the yin-yang is an eastern belief it is extremely similar to Chris’s quote since they both relate to the thought that one cannot exist without the other. This template of existence is applied through the human emotions of Sisyphus. He has tasted the essence of life and thereafter he refuses to return to the underworld where hopelessness is always lurking. Just like the sun’s dependence to the shadow and vice-versa, happiness is only realized through sadness. If sadness is not experienced then how is happiness realized? Joy and enlightenment are personified through the sun since the sun was associated with Apollo; the sun gives life and light to earth which conjures an optimistic image in one’s mind. Yet as the Earth rotates it will come to a point where it must face the darkness of night. This night is interpreted as death or sadness since night is a time of rebirth and new beginnings for a better tomorrow. Sisyphus has experienced both worlds, the world of the living and the world of the dead. It is through this that he can find satisfaction for what he is continually doing; which is rolling a rock up a hill to only know that it will fall back to the ground, this symbolizes the daily routines humankind fall trap to. Camus conveys to the reader his ideas by allowing the reader to see the contrast between the dependence of the sun and the night as that of happiness and sadness.

Steve T 5 said...

It's interesting. Instead of physically torturing Sisyphus, the gods punish him through mental pain. They put him in a world where his only responsibility is to push a rock up a mountain, where it then falls back down. So he must repeat the process infinitely. And it may be exhausting to push, but if he can push the same rock once, he can do it again. But he thinks, as any one else would, there is no point in pushing a rock that'll fall anyways. He wants to be on earth, where he had his routine life. This thinking is torture to the brain. Like a poor man depressed because his fortune, or on a lesser scale, a man cursing the look of his face. But Sisyphus must push infinitely, but then again, infinitely is a long, long time. Over time, the man who cursed his looks is used to it, and is accepted by his wife in long-lasting love. The poor man makes a routine living, and becomes grateful for living. And, over time, one must think that Sisyphus will become happy. He is happy, he has adapted to his new routine life.
In class I remember saying myself, "Overtime, we can get used to anything." Meursualt from, The Stranger, had said that. And that statement is what explains why Sisyphus is happy with his new lifestyle. He keeps pushing, but that is he believes is life now.
It's also known that, in a controlled environment, a baby can be taught to be a criminal, or a lawyer in a matter of a few years. If stealing is all the baby is taught in his world, then that's what the baby will learn and live to do. Sisyphus is the baby of this new world. Sisyphus learns how to push in this controlled environment where pushing is the only thing he knows to do, and gets used to it. So, at seeing the rock reach the top, he's happy that he did his job. Then when it falls, he knows he must go back to work. As absurd as life in one world or another can be, we get used to it, and believe it is our duty.


What a said had a good similarity to quite a few people. Like, Kevin for example. Life can seen as hopeless for many people at instances...only, he said we are happy when he find a shred of hope in our hopelessness. Where can Sisyphus find a shred of hope in his world kevin? I had to re-read what he said a few times, and it would be nice if he can answer that later, but the way Kevin said, "Sisyphus must be happy," sounded sarcastic. Could he be sarcastic >_> ? That's a bit odd.

Andrew D 5 said...

In Camus’s essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus expresses is belief that life is meaningless. Camus’s interpretation of the myth reflects his idea that life is absurd. That no matter what you do in your life or what you believe in, it wont matter in the end because you just die. Camus is saying that being happy is absurd, and that happy people have learned to accept death and although Sisyphus’s punishment is meant to be eternal and laboring, Camus suggest that “one must imagine Sisyphus happy”(8 pg.5). We must imagine Sisyphus happy because he has accepted his punishment and has found a way to cope with his labor and become happy.

I like angelas thesis statement because her thesis has depth and its subtle and she demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the purpose. She states that Camus is saying that you cannot be happy unless you were miserable at one point in your life. She uses the example that when Sisyphus is rolling the rock up the hill he is miserable and it isn’t until he reaches the top that he attains happiness. Her main point that she states Camus is getting at is that in life one must feel suffering in order to feel (or appreciate) happiness


In class Chris O. started to discuss the quotation that “there is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night”(4). I believe that this is an important part of the essay and suggests that in life one cannot feel happiness without suffering and vice versa. The “sun” represents beauty, warmth and the ultimate happiness. But when you think about it, the sun isn’t always shining. Sometimes it cast shadows due to the clouds covering it. Also, the sun must go away when it is night time and “night” represents suffering. The shadow, or the “middle course”, from “Deadulus and Icarus”, represents the time in life when one accepts their place in the world and is not necessarily happy or unhappy. The sun represents the time in life when one is overly happy and this may cause them to be overly proud and than cause their downfall. In the end they will end up knowing the night and the consequences of suffering. Also sun, shadows, and the night are almost like a cycle. The sun comes up, cast shadows, and finally it becomes night, than this is repeated every single day. This symbolizes that life is a cycle in which people must suffer in order to be happy. There will be ups and downs and in betweens, but one can not avoid them because they are a part of life.
Another quotation which connects to the one above is “…a blind man eager to see who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling”(4). This quotation implies that the night is ever lasting and this suggests that suffering also has no end. If someone who is blind wants to see and already knows of the suffering in this world, than he will continue to suffer because he is not accepting his fate and place in life. This is a person who can not accept their fate and therefore there “rock”, representing life, still “rolls”, representing the suffering in life. Overall Camus is suggesting that suffering is inescapable and one will become content once they accept their destiny and place in life.