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Word Count: 2,125
A strong critique by existentialist writers of modern society is the way in which humans live unexamined meaningless lives with no true concept of what it is to be an unique individuals In Kate Chopins novel The Awakening and in Flannery OConnors short story Greenleaf the characters Edna and Mrs May respectively begin almost as common stock characters living unfulfilled lives They eventually converge however upon an elevated life and death filled with new meaning through their struggle with their role as individuals surrounded by other important beings Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1881-1948 believed that humankind follows a certain evolution of mind and body This process involves a beginning komogenese a development biogenese and then a peak noogenese in which humans reach an Omega Point of higher being Though his ideas were actually applied on a much broader scale of humanity over a large timespan the theory can be applied to the individuals process of human development Single humans begin as common clones of one another From this commonality many examine their lives and develop the things within them that make them uniquely them This development of the self only can be ended at death when the individual converges upon an Omega Point in which he has an elevated understanding of and meaning for life The characters Edna from The Awakening and Mrs May from Greenleaf encounter a similar human development in which an individual is formed with an understanding of life The means by which they achieve this differ greatly As the novel The Awakening opens the reader sees Edna Pontellier as one who might seem to be a happy married woman living a secure fulfilled life It is quickly revealed though that she is deeply oppressed by a male dominated society evident through her marriage to Leonce Edna lives a controlled life in which there is no outlet for her to develop herself as the individual who she is
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