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Word Count: 1,292
The twentieth century afforded the opportunity to augment the spiritual Walt Whitman eloquently described in his nineteenth century work I Hear America Singing with the voices of the human collective the world over from the downtown city dweller to the indigenous natives roaming the wilds The mechanics wives and many different human identities could have sang What belongs to him or her and to none else In this century Humanitys collective accomplishments made it possible for man to destroy the world Whitmans grand illusion of stability was not realized and the twentieth century instead imparted upon humanity a reality composed of conflicts and paradoxes With the ability to shape the world and a facade of control over the collective destiny of the species we bitterly learned what the ancients summed up as fate things work out as they do because the circumstances of life are as they are and the people affected and affecting them are as they are A sort of double-edged sword that both imparts collective and individual responsibility over man and yet admits to what is essentially his inability to mold the world as he like has imposed upon humanity a permanent state of cognitive dissonance and complete confusion over mans place in the worldCollectively we suffered two world wars and the great depression Together mankind became a species of exiled aliens in regards to language culture and countrymen with a general awareness that we are not in control of our destinies and that life may just be the universes cruel little mistake Revelations such as the one noted above moved human beings to search for order and meaning in their lives through avenues such as communities tradition and habit In a world such as ours man has no choice but to create meaning through his own means Through a terse narrative the omniscient Dr Rieux covers the outbreak of bubonic plague in a large French port on the Algerian
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