Aesthetic 2

The second part of this blog demonstrates a completely different aesthetic than the first portion. Because I am relating and analyzing The Giving Tree, Seger on adapting fiction to film and Blair’s work about Cornell, the brand new aesthetic of existentialism is brought to light. In this exploration, I have found that three themes are prevalent throughout the book both implicitly and explicitly- loyalty, imagination and love. All of these qualities can also be found, in some form, in the work and methods of Cornell.

Existentialism is defined as a modern philosophical movement stressing the importance of personal experience and responsibility and the demands that they make on the individual, who is seen as a free agent in a deterministic and seemingly meaningless universe.

Due to the extreme feelings that this story evokes as well as the existential attributes that both Cornell and his works exhibited, I feel as though this is the perfect explanation for this second aesthetic. Cornell was all about being able to experience and remember his experiences, and through his surrealistic nature and ways of capturing memories by note taking and observations of every day happenings, he created his boxes that added up to be an artistic representation of his every day existence. He took the time to stop and think or just wander around collecting mental or physical notes for which he used to construct his art at a later time. His dossiers were of great importance to him and were it not for these pieces of literary art, his physical art could not have been as deep or thorough, and therefore significant as it was. The fact that Cornell’s favorite book was about a man who wandered around and the fact that he himself took on this role as an extension of his position as a traveling salesman, is proof, aside from his note takings, that Cornell was interested in squeezing the most that he could out of life- gathering all of the information he could possible collect and recording that mentally, physically, artistically or all of the above.

Cornell was a most unconventional man and therefore the loyalty, imagination and love in his life can be attributed only in unconventional ways. He was loyal to a fault to his work- it was his life and everything in it. His imagination was his palette. A most unique attribute, the mind of Cornell is what allowed him to think outside of the box, to collect, fathom, fabricate and synthesize all that he did. Because of his strange ways of synthesizing and the inclusion of such synchronicity that baffled the minds of even the most reknowned surrealists, he was acclaimed as being a part of the surrealist movement, but denied it always for fear of more criticism than he could handle. Finally, the love he had with his work was far greater than any love he could have shared with a human being. It was a passion that few could have understood or competed with and therefore no one did, and he allowed no one to fill this place- his art was more than enough for him.

Although The Giving Tree is less complex psychologically, existentialism can still be found as the umbrella under which love, loyalty and imagination dwell. I feel as though existentialism is represented by this story because of the feelings provoked and the realizations that occur because of it. When one knows there is a relationship at hand that may not be functioning as it once did, when time is passing by with nothing but empty hours, one cannot help but to be influenced by a state of existentialism where one thinks about all the part of life and their reasons for being. All of this is the case for the tree in this story. As a main character, the tree extends herself both literally and physically to express her love for the boy. He is the only one she allows to play in her branches and sit in her shade- a true testament of loyalty. She is not a figment of his imagination but a participant in the games and activities that he creates there. And finally, she has a true love for the boy- as a friend, as a companion and as someone she relies on for happiness. One cannot love without a relationship as the foundation, and the foundation of this relationship is just as strong for the tree, and the boy for a short time, as a human relationship between best friends or loved ones.

An elaboration on the existential qualities of both Cornell and The Giving Tree is necessary to understand the reasoning for selecting this as the entire aesthetic for this second portion. While it is possible that existentialism is not a required element of these two stories, I feel as though it is most important because without the characters or people involved in them feeling these senses, the audience would not feel as strongly as they do. Each of these works provides the reader with the opportunity to step back and think about their life- their place in the world and the interactions they have with everything surrounding them. Existence in and of itself is a deep concept and sometimes burden, and without some kind of personal analysis and acceptance, we will never reach a place in life where we can really feel a sense of love, imagination and loyalty for our own selves.


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