Simone de Beauvoir Essay
Simone de Beauvoir is a noted French philosopher. She was not always considered a philosopher, but a writer, and has only been given the distinction of philosopher in recent years. Her early life was spent writing and thinking, and became considered philosophical work only after her death. Beauvoir was born in France in 1908.
She belonged to a bourgeoisie family, and had one sister. As a teenager, she declared herself an atheist, and devoted her life to feminism and writing (Marvin).Her life was likely very affected by her father’s life. He was extremely interested in pursuing a career in theater, but because of his societal position, he became a lawyer (which was expected), and hated it. His family also had noble ties. Her mother, on the other hand, was a strict Catholic.
Some authors said that Simone struggled between her mother’s religious morals and her father’s more pagan ones, and this led to her atheism and philosophical work. As a child, Simone was religious and had a relationship with God.She wrote in early work about her thankfulness that heaven had given her the parents and sister that she had, but this feeling (at least the religious aspects of it) dissipated as she aged (Flaherty). As a young adult, Simone attended the Sorbonne.
There, she made several friends, including Jean-Paul Sartre, who became her best friend. The group of friends that she spent her time with was considered a bad group, rebels. However, it did not matter, because Simone and Sartre grew closer and closer and remained best friends for life.Their work was also frequently linked during Simone’s life, and she was considered sort of his ‘student. ’ However, they were in an intimate relationship, and Sartre proposed to her at one point – which she declined, because she felt that marriage was an institution and that they should, instead, be free to love others (Flaherty). After graduating from the Sorbonne, Simone lived with her grandmother and taught at a lycee, or high school.
She taught philosophy at several schools throughout her life, which allowed her to live comfortably.She spent her free time going to cafes, writing, and giving talks. She spent some time in Berlin (with Sartre) and they had a relationship with a female student, Olga. Sartre had an affair with Olga, since he and Simone had agreed that they would be free to love others. During this time, Simone got very sick and spent some time in a sanitarium. When she left the sanitarium, Olga and Sartre were only friends, no longer lovers (Flaherty).
Simone traveled around the world later in her life, lecturing. She came to the United States in the 1940s and met another man, Algren.He proposed to her, but she opted to stay with Sartre instead (Gascoigne). Also during her travels, Simeone “participated [with Sartre] in 1967 in the Bertrand Russell Tribunal of War Crimes in Vietnam. ” She met several leaders, including Khruschev and Castro, although unlike Sartre, she did not particularly enjoy being in the public spotlight (Gascoigne).
In 1981, Sartre died, and Simone wrote a memoir about him. After this, she continued to take drugs and drink alcohol, which contributed to her mental decay.She and Sartre had always taken drugs and drunk alcohol; Simone frequently became drunk throughout her life. She died in 1986, and was buried in the grave with Sartre (Gascoigne).
As for Beauvoir’s work, she strictly considered herself a writer, not a philosopher. Others did not see her as a philosopher because she was a woman and therefore inferior in some ways; she was also seen as a student of Sartre and not as a philosopher in her own right. Besides being a woman, she also wrote about women. This field of study wasn’t truly accepted until very recently, so Beauvoir’s work was not accepted in her time.
She was also heavily overshadowed by Sartre and his work, especially because some of her work reflects his (Bergoffen). Beauvoir’s philosophical ideas focused on how truths in life were revealed in literature. She wrote several essays, including “Literature and the Metaphysical Essay” (1946) and “Mon Experience d’Ecrivain,” which translates to ‘My Experience as a Writer’ (1956). Her works include both fiction and non-fiction, all in regards to studying literature in reaction to human relationships and thoughts (Bergoffen).
Feminism was also of primary importance to Beauvoir, and she is considered to be one of the pioneers of the movement. In fact, Beauvoir is best known for her feminist work, “The Second Sex,” now a classic of feminist literature (Eiermann). In this work, she looks at the role of women in society, and the advantages and disadvantages that she, herself, faced. It was initially not thought of as a philosophical work because it dealt with sex, which, during the Victorian era, was not a subject frequently discussed.In reality, the book closely examines patriarchal society and its impact on women, and calls for women to take action against these oppressions. It fired up women of later generations to fight for political, social, and personal change.
The book remains debated to this day because of the way it addresses the issues, but it is still considered a major early book on feminism (Bergoffen). Beauvoir is also known for an earlier work, Force of Circumstance. “Within this piece she discussed vital issues of the day-confusion and rage regarding human freedoms and the French/Algerian War” (Flaherty).Human freedom was another issue that was crucial in Beauvoir’s work. She was particularly concerned that people needed to be free.
This is reflected in the way she lived her own life, and in the way she lectured others. She Came to Stay (1943) is another example of a work that deals with freedom. This work is a novel, and it deals with “reflections on our relationship to time, to each other, to ourselves” (Bergoffen). The work doesn’t fit a traditional philosophical framework, where questions are brought to a close and fully answered.Instead it only explores questions by looking at the lives and interactions of the main characters. In this novel, a murder is committed because of a character’s desire for freedom, and the novel examines if the murder was just or not, among other issues surrounding the situation.
This work is frequently considered her first true philosophical work (Bergoffen). Pyrrhus and Cineas (1944) is Beauvoir’s first philosophical essay and a major turning point in her life as a writer. This essay looks at questions like “What are the criteria of ethical action?How can I distinguish ethical from unethical political projects? What are the principles of ethical relationships? Can violence ever be justified? ” The essay looks at the moral, political, and other implications of these questions, and also more about freedom, relationships, and other violence. Simone was not sure if violence was truly justified, but concludes that it is ‘neither evil nor avoidable. ’ The questions are not truly resolved in this work, much like the previous one (Bergoffen).Ethics of Ambiguity (1947) looks at further ethical questions regarding freedom, and the difference between childhood and adulthood.
According to Beauvoir, children live in mystery, and should. However, children should be forced to be adults or given too much information, while adults should not choose to remain children. There are violations of freedom involved in this. This work expands on the idea of freedom from the previous work, and looks at new dimensions of it (Bergoffen).
Beauvoir’s work takes into account the ideas of her contemporaries, not only Sartre.She and several other writers and philosophers were working on similar ideas of freedom, violence, and sexuality in a time when several wars were being fought, colonization was rampant (which Beauvoir was against), and women were gaining a political voice for the first time. Her work stands alone, as it is the beginning of true feminism and remains very popular in today’s philosophical world. Feminists frequently turn to her work for the early ideas about how women needed to be free, and to be given political and social freedom. Simone is a strong philosophical figure in the twentieth century, and her work remains important today.