Man’s Search for Meaning In-class Essay Tomorrow

1. Wednesday, September 14th–MSM In-Class Essay

Per Man’s Search for Meaning, what is Viktor Frankl’s view of the human condition?

Ultimately your objective for this essay is to craft a thesis reflecting Frankl’s view of the human condition. In doing so, you will demonstrate control of logotherapy. Feel free to show your thesis to me to get some feedback.

The following are major players in his argument:

  1. Frankl titles Part II of his text “Logotherapy in a Nutshell.”  Scholars suggest his thesis here can be reduced to the Freidrich Nietzsche quote (Remember, Frankl himself cites it on numerous occasions):

“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”

  1. Inner life/value and spiritual freedom
  2. Discovering meaning in life in three different ways:
  • By creating a work or doing a deed
  • By experiencing something or encountering someone (Love)
  • By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering

*These are key elements and they are, frankly, obvious. Certainly, you can discuss them in your essay; however, do not limit yourself to the obvious. Engage the nuances of his argument (i.e. Noo dynamics). The more nuanced your discussion, the more textual control you have. That is what I am looking for. The less nuanced, the more I will call into question your actual reading of the text.

*In this essay do not merely write that Frankl believes we can attain meaning in three different ways. That is a gross simplification of his existential view and logotherapy. While I do not expect to see mastery in this essay, I do expect to see sophisticated control of his argument.

Your essay should demonstrate control/understanding of both Part I and Part II of the text. So both parts of the book should be explored in your essay. This essay is unlike English essays of the past!  Your thesis is actually what you believe to be Frankl’s argument. There should be no critical discussion!

You are more than welcome to outline your discussion in preparation for tomorrow.

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