Nihilism can kill people “inside” or “completely,” according to two short stories. The paper "Nihilism And Its Consequences" compares how Hurston and Braverman use imagery, symbols, writing style, and characterization to explore the nature and outcomes of nihilism…
Nihilism entails the absence of consideration for consequences, where people have no inner guide and promote only their self-interests. By openly showing love for a married woman. Spunk demonstrates a missing conscience. He tells Joe that “Lena was his” (Hurston). The alcoholic woman in “Tall Tales” also dismisses the effects of her decisions. She sees herself slowly attracted to a stranger, just because of her creative imagination that feeds her inner emptiness. The “watch” in the story symbolizes reality because it reminds people of the time and organizing their life. She does not know how to organize her life, however, because she cannot understand the meaning of her existence. When she allows Lenny to take her watch, she surrenders to the pseudo-reality that Lenny wants to bring her to. Lenny tells her: “You don't need [your watch]. You don't have to know what time it is” (Braverman). She then empowers him to organize her life for her, which happens eventually. Furthermore, nihilistic people only value their self-interests. Spunk takes Lena and parades their affair to others. He says to Joe: “Call her and see if shell come. A woman knows her boss she answers when he calls” (Hurston). This means that for Spunk, he is the boss of himself and others. The woman of “Tall Tales” also focuses on her inner fantasies than her own future and the future of her daughter. When she sees “China blue” in the sky, it is an image of peace and hope. These images of peace and hope are superficial, however, because she intends to escape her reality to find them. She feels unhappy with her failures and she covets a new life, where responsibilities no longer exist. ...
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