Existentialism and Bad Faith in Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God
This paper discusses Cormac McCarthy's Child of God work and defends against the argument that McCarthy's writing is nihilistic because it reveals a desolate universe. By way of this study, McCarthy's novels have been found not to be nihilistic; instead, McCarthy's novels have clear references to existentialism and the doctrine of renunciation and bad faith of Jean-Paul Sartre. One of his deadliest protagonists, Lester Ballard, is written in this book. Ballard is denied by society and, therefore, perspectives a form of existential abdication. In a society where we find ourselves isolated and without reason, Sartre claims that we are doomed to being free without parents or a sense of culture. But where Sartre argues that our liberty demands that we assume accountability for both our decisions and acts, Ballard avoids his freedom with what Sartre describes as bad faith. Ballard stays in the forest alone and survives in psychosis, assassinating and preserving the corpses of his victims to build a twisted family. Ballard utilizes necrophilia to feel affection. The madness of Lester Ballard is close to the principle of life in bad faith of Sartre. I may end by pointing out that McCarthy's practice is not pointless but rather that the person is making significance as Sartre, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard's existential philosophies argue.