Tuesday, November 22, 2011


1. Read Jean Paul Sartre's "No Exit." You can find the text online here and here, among other places, and you are certainly welcome to check the play out at the library or buy it at a local bookstore or online.

2. Be sure to take active reading notes and answer the questions embedded in the text.

3. Feel free to ask questions and comment to this post.

4. Create a post for your blog entitled "Thinking Outside the Box" in which you compare how Plato and Sartre describe the limitations of our thinking and imply solutions to the problem.  Be sure to analyze their literary techniques, especially their use of allegory and extended metaphor.

5. Invite ten people to read and comment to your post.


  1. 1.My vision of hell is fairly traditional with a lake of fire and such, but I suppose if one were to prod me into the creation of a personal hell just for me, because in this circumstance I REALLY deserve it, it would be a void of nothingness, nay a blank white room with absolutely nothing in it, except for me of course.There would be no peace ever because of the very fact that it is indeed a hell, and a place of punishment where in this circumstance, I REALLY don't deserve any sense of peace whatsoever. Sartre's hell, while don't get wrong is indeed terrible, it's in a sense more livable for me being that, I believe his drawing room of everlasting torment spawned from his own vexes and peeves.

    2.I certainly believe that something without rest could be considered hell. Imagine the concept of becoming "burnt out" exaggerated infinitely. To become physically, emotionally, and mentally "burn out" until you are not only tired of something, but eventually you become bothered by it and eventually suffering because of it.

    3. Garcin at first is generally isn't phased by his new permanent residence, slightly put off by the furniture maybe, but certainly not tormented. However as the others arrive and their presence takes its toll, soon Sartre's idea of Hell without rest begins to take form as the three can no longer tolerate the presence of each other

  2. If I were to create my own hell it would not consist of torture devices or anything of the sort, it would be a place where I was constantly reminded of my failures. It'd be a mental hell I guess, where I would spend eternity with all my regrets playing on a loop, things I said, did, and thought, playing on a loudspeaker or projected all over but only you can see this. I suppose the only thing worse than that would be to have food, a bed, and people you love(although it is not really them), there but you cannot feel the warmth of their touch, you cannot sleep, and you cannot be satisfied in any way. Spending eternity longing for these things would be maddening. I do not think it would be possible to find peace, if it were then that hell would not serve a purpose.

  3. 1. There would be more fire and less furniture. Maybe more physical suffering to go with the mental component.
    2. If you do something too much you wont want to do it anymore. May it be tolerating people you cannot stand or having to watch the same show all day.
    3. By Garcin's surprise at how normal it looks, and him beginning to think it wont be so bad because it doesn't appear like it will. It would be bright. If you look at anything that you have to do frequently you could begin to see it in a hellish way, like school, its really not bad unless you really make it that way, and dread having to go everyday.

  4. 1. My personal Hell would be one ridden with large spiders. God I hate spiders. It would also be one of solitude, me being isolated not just from the ones I love but everyone. I'm one of those people who just needs human interaction.
    2. I think that doing something way to much would very easily become hellish. There is a point where redundancy becomes misery.
    3. Garcin tries to fool himself at first, acting as if his new residence doesn't affect him. Then after his roomates truly settle into his head, he realizes the weight of his situation.
    Tyler Stewart

  5. 1) My personal Hell is a lot like Dante’s Inferno. It would have torture instruments and would be extremely dark and isolated from any other place. It would be a place where either mental or physical torture is caused. Yes the mind can be in hell in a beautiful place. Someone can be in a meadow full of flowers and a rainbow and one’s mind can still be suffering. They can be thinking of something horrifying. By escaping into your mind and thinking “happy thoughts,” you can find peace in a hellish physical environment.
    2) Yes hell can be described as too much of something without a break. For example if a person were to be working out for a very long time with no break they can become tired and eventually see the exercise as hell and torture. Having balance and moderation is the best way to keep ourselves from reaching the point of hell. They give us the much needed break and pause before reaching our breaking point.
    3) At first Garcin is arrogant and acts as if “hell” doesn’t bother him, but then we begin to see it crawling under his skin. You can easily twist your daily activities into hell by changing your perspective on it. An example would be school or work. If you wake up and dread going, odds are it will eventually become hell to you.
    Lupita Perez Per. 3

  6. 1. Hell in my mind is a little like Dante’s Inferno. It would have scary things like knives and a chain saw. Things that would cause both physical and mental pain. Yes the mind can be in hell while being in a beautiful place. They can be thinking of something depressing. You can find peace in a hellish physical environment by thinking happy things.
    2. Yes hell can be described as something without a break. If you don’t stop doing something, you will eventually become annoyed by it and see it as something bad. Balance, moderation, and variety are great ways to keep us from seeing something as hell.
    3. Sartre creates a sense of place through dialogue by making the characters’ conversation mainly about the place they’re at and being descriptive. Garcin tries ignoring the matter at first. Yes there is a matter of circumstances that reinforces the experience of hell. Having a routine gets irritating and maybe even painful for some.
    Tatiana Alvarez period 2

  7. 1. Disclaimer: I know that fish are not sentient beings capable of human emotion and consciousness, but I wonder nonetheless. And I am entirely serious about the comparison I am about to make, even though everyone that I've ever brought it up to thought I was being silly. 

    Anyways... I have a small twenty-gallon fish tank in my room. In it live five small fish. Sometimes, before bed, I sit and watch them, wondering how bad it would suck to be a fish, stuck in a small tank with nothing to do but swim. They don't sleep; they don't play; they don't do anything. There is absolutely no variation in their daily routines. I decided long ago that this would be my version of hell. Having said this, reading the beginning Sartre's "No Exit" made me think a lot about my perception of a personal hell. I was able to identify with Garcin's discontent with not be allowed human dignities like brushing his teeth and sleeping. I knew that the constant swimming would literally bore me into a deep depression (since I couldn't die again) much like Garcin was worried that a bland uniform "life" would be hellish itself. 
    And to succinctly answer the second part of that sees of questions, the fact that Sartre's he'll is an intellectual one, and not a traditional physical representation of hell, allows it to take place in such a beautiful environment. It is not the setting that tortures Garcin, it is being trapped in his own mind that will. Whereas it is impossible to find peace in an intellectually hellish state, in a physically hellish environment it is possible to acquire peace of mind and somewhat escape
    the physical tortures surrounding you. 

    2. Like I mentioned above, my version of hell is characterized by an unrelentingly uniform routine. It is hellish because it is devoid of all variety. So yes, I do believe that hell can be described as too much of one thing without a break. We require variety to prevent this hell from happening. 

    3. Sartre used the characters' dialogue to describe the room that Garcin was to remain in for an eternity. His conversation with the Valet sets up a picture of what the room looks like and what his hell will consist of. Although it doesn't seem like such a bad place Garcin reacts violently to it. Once the Valet leaves, Garcin begins banging on the door an repeatedly ringing the bell, desperate for companionship. 
    Though my nagging flawd arent as harsh as Garcin's considering the mental component of his hell is reason enough to fear such a condemnation. Being forced to stay in a room with nothing to do or no one to talk to would force me to sit around and think, endlessly. Eventually I would drive myself insane. 
    I guess you could say that my daily routine resembles a hell similar to the one in "No Exit", provided that you take out any sort of variation. I wake up every morning at 5:40 am; go to school by 7; wait around until softball practice, then go home and do homework and so on and so forth. It's the little moments of variety, like hanging out with friends at lunch, or texting someone during the day, that differentiate my life from my misery. 

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  9. Cody, I think "No Exit" relates to the "Allegory of the Cave" because the characters trap themselves in their Hell. They are able to leave at one point but they don't out of fear. They stay in their chains like the prisoners in the cave. They have the power, even if they didn't have the opportunity to leave, to at least not torture each other. Yet they make themselves powerless. The prisoners play along and accept what is given to them, and so does the characters in "No Exit." That's at least a thought to get you thinking.

    Dannielle Edwards, 4th.

  10. If you'll also notice, the characters in both stories don't seek to change themselves or understand the world around them. They manage to make themselves comfortable and trapped by fear and what's expected.

    Dannielle Edwards, 4th.

  11. 1. Everyones personal hell is different, that is what makes it personal. It could be a situation like in the movie Beetlejuice where the deceased couple has to suffer through living with the modern family, and to make matters worse the woman is exactly the nightmare they always feared. My personal hell is definitely very mental rather than physical. I can handle physical pain if my life depends on it, but when it comes to a loved one in excruciating pain where I can not do anything in my willpower to stop it, that is where I am just... done for.
    2. Too much of anything without a break can definitely cause hell. There is too much driving, too much eating, too much working, too much fun, etc. If you do something in an exaggerated manner it will end up affecting you in a negative manner.
    3. The play is basic dialogue. There isn't much description so the reader experiences the different senses of hell through the descriptions of characters. Garcin believes he can outsmart "them" but when he slowly realizes that his personal hell is in fact planned and that his actions were already going as should be he slowly drives himself mad.

  12. I picture hell as being physically and mentally painful. I guess if you have a mindset, where you don't care and can block the pain, you can find peace in a hellish enviroment. Or if you know what you did was wrong.

    I could see how one would think Hell would be full of norture devices. It would be mighty depressing to be in the same room day after day. Not knowing if it was morning or day. Having the light on all the time and never being able to sleep. I can see as being hellish.

    The dialogue in the setting gives a sense that the drawing roon is depressing. Having two live with three people you don't know, and who bicker all the time. Would be frustrating, especially when all you want is peace and quiet.

    Garcin reacts to the room it seems at first like he doesn't care. But then he brings up how he can break the light so it won't always be on. I believe he doesn't like the idea of never being able to sleep. I also believe he doesn't like how he can't control anything and that is why he brings up the light switch.

    Something I still don't get is why he didn't leave when he had the chance?

    Stephanie Owens

  13. 1. I don't really believe in hell, but I assume that if there was that it wouldn't be like it appears on satirical cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy, it would be all about mental torture, because while most humans can take unbearable pain, if you mess with our psyche and take us out of ourselves we become something else completely removed from what we used to be. I believe that's worse than being tortured physically. You take the persons greatest fears and push them to the point where they'd rather die than have to deal with it anymore, you essentially break them.

    /Peace was never an option/. Sorry, X-Men reference. Anyways, no I assume that the whole point of hell is that you can never achieve peace. Otherwise... it wouldn't really be hell, would it?

    2. Doing anything without a break can be considered hell, I mean, that's why we have 12 step programs. Too much of something can negatively effect you in many manners. Everything becomes redundant once you do it enough, words become meaningless and actions unnecessary. I think hell would take our most prized qualities, possessions, etc and make them redundant because what would be worse than that?

    3. You can pretend to ignore 'hell' but eventually it's going to push itself into your inner being and overtake you. Garcin tried to rise above it, pretend it didn't affect him, but eventually and defeated, he resigned to the fact that he was in hell and that that was his situation. You can make anything your 'hell', but you should refrain from that.
    "We are our own devil, and we make this world our hell."

  14. 1.The place I call hell isn't at all like Burgeois but is more like Dante's inferno. I believe the mind will act a part in a persons hell and will be a hell for the person themselves and their surroundings. There can be peace found in a hellish physical enviroment, you just have to persevere and have the mentality.
    2.Hell in itself is too much of anything without a break. After so long you don't find enjoyment in doing so. Variety and moderation keeps us in balance with who we are and what we need.
    3.The dialogue Sarte uses creates vivid pictures of what the characters are feeling and what they are seeing.I would find it terrible tp know that i'd be trapped without escape. Garcin however has accepted the hell he has been put to. In which too much of anything has become his hell.

    edith gonzalez p.3

  15. 1.My picture of hell is isolation. I picture the empty island where all there is, is loneliness. When you'r alone you start to think of all the negatives in life, and your thoughts consume you. I wouldn't be able to handle that.
    2.Redundancy would be hell. It makes me think of Sisyphus, the greek god who was condemned to a life of pushing a boulder up a hill only to fall to the bottom over and over. Doing the same thing over and over would make that specific thing lose meaning.
    3. Garcin doesn't want to face hell at first. He tries to convince himself the place isn't that bad, and it's not even the place that drives him up the wall; it's the people.

    Kelli Carrillo P.3

  16. 1) My idea of hell is a place where nothing is as it seems. It tricks you, teases you, and tortures you. It messes with your emotions to make sure that you never have any sense of happiness. The place itself is nothing fancy, just dark and empty. Hell can be in a beautiful place if that place drives you crazy. There would be no peace in hell.
    2)Doing something in excess could be considered hell. It can wear and tear at you until you finally break. Each cut is deeper, and each time you give in to a temptation the more control it will have over you.
    3)Garcin thought that he could overcome hell, but he found out that he was stuck there because of his own actions. He couldn't escape because he couldn't right his wrong, and he knowingly committed his "sin." Anything can become hell if you let it take control of you and change your thinking.

    Candace Rickman
    Period 3

  17. 1. My image of hell is a dark place surrounded with instruments of torture. Surrounding this place would be a ring of fire, making it so that you are always hot and can never cool down. It is the “typical” image of hell that people think of. A personal hell for me could be having to write one sentence and once I am done writing that sentence I can be done. However when I write down a word, and then move to the next word, the previous word I wrote erases, and I never make any progress. Knowing that I could be done and it seems within reach, but I would never be able to.
    2. Hell can be described as having to do the same thing over and over again. Never getting a break from doing it and always knowing what the end result of it will be. Knowing that there is nothing you can do to change it.
    3. Satre creates a sense of place through dialogue by having Garcin question everything around him. He asks about things in the room and things that aren’t in the room, which help you visualize the room. Garcin reacts by freaking out when the valet leaves, then gets very calm and relaxes.

    Mitchell Edmodnson P4

  18. 1. The hell I imagine is purely black. There is no sound, no sight, but the sense of touch remains intact (This adds to the fear factor). Yes, the mind can have a beautiful place as hell, but there must be something about it that makes it miserable for that specific person. Furthermore, hell can never be emotionally acceptable.
    2. I believe that hell is just that. When one thing is repeated consistently for eternity, any man is bound to go mad. No matter how satisfying one thing might be, (i.e. sex), humans are vulnerable to going insane with an excess amount of singular satisfaction.
    3. Sartre creates a setting purely through the dialogue throughout the play (Mostly in the beginning). I would go crazy within one day if I was trapped in a place similar to Garcin's. Garcin immediately retaliates, and he has no idea what he can do in order to stay sane with the two women. Sadly, there is no pattern because there is simply nothing.

  19. 1. Hell for me would be the one I grew up with which was the one described in Dante's inferno which are the nine circles. It's based on what you have done so it sort of reflects what you have done. Hell for me is a reflection of the "sins" I have done, it is a constant reminder of what I have done that has ruined me in the end.

    2. I believe hell is what we make of it, for example paradise can be hell for us if it has a flaw that is constantly being noticed by us thus making unbearable.

  20. 3. The way Saertes creates a hell is through his verbal illustrations. What he says creates an image that later allows us to see his hell.

    Carlos Cruz period 3

  21. 1. The hell I imagined when I used think about it was a dark, fiery place that is very desolate. Hell for me as I was growing up was always sort of a threat and it was not an acceptable place to want to end up. As my thoughts have matured I feel like hell can be any place that taunts you and you hate, it can be anywhere and with anyone it seems. Hell has evolved to me to, to be more than this fiery threat it is now a eternity of suffering of any kind it seems.
    2. Repetitive actions could be considered hell. It can wear you down until you finally break and can't manage another minute. Each fail runs deeper, and as soon as you give in to the simple, taunting temptation, whatever it may be, it then has a new kind of control over you. A new kind of hell.
    3. Garcin is indecisive in the beginning when he is placed within his new residency. Yes, like any human being he is slightly put off by the differences than what he may call "normal", but he is definitely not in any kind of hell. As the others join this room, the hell starts to become apparent as the three cannot tolerate each others presence. Saerte's creates his hell by tormenting his character's into hating everything, therefore creating the worst hell they could ever imagine.

    Shannon Murray
    Period 3

  22. 1. Think about the place you have chosen as your hell. Does it look ordinary and bourgeois, like Sartre's drawing room, or is it equipped with literal instruments of torture like Dante's Inferno? Can the mind be in hell in a beautiful place? Is there a way to find peace in a hellish physical environment? Enter Sartre's space more fully and imagine how it would feel to live there endlessly, night and day:

    -Hell is a place of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual torture with no rest. The place I have chosen as my hell that affects the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, would be living in constant darkness and negativity. I wouldn’t call it ordinary or bourgeois. It is quite complex. Literal instruments of torture would be the constant repetition of negative thoughts that tear oneself down and keep them down in the dumps from living the life they want. I definitely believe that the mind can be in hell in a beautiful place. The mind is the inner world and the outer world in which we live in is the physical world. The thoughts of our inner world control how we think, feel, and act in the outer, physical world. So, if all that consumes the inner world is negativity, then that can create an inner hell even if the physical world around us is absolutely amazing. There is definitely a way to find peace in a hellish physical environment. For me, I find my peace through my faith in Christ. It is in Him I find my serenity. For others they find peace through other things. Living in an endless hell, nigh and day, would be purposeless, hopeless, and evil. There is no good in it. I don’t know why anyone would want to choose a place like this. Nobody deserves to endure a place such as this.

    2. Could hell be described as too much of anything without a break? Are variety, moderation and balance instruments we use to keep us from boiling in any inferno of excess,' whether it be cheesecake or ravenous sex:

    -Yes hell could be described as too much of anything because when something becomes too much in ones life it takes over. That one thing becomes the control, idol, god of ones life, blocking out all the good.

    3. How does Sartre create a sense of place through dialogue? Can you imagine what it feels like to stay awake all the time with the lights on with no hope of leaving a specific place? How does GARCIN react to this hell? How could you twist your daily activities around so that everyday habits become hell? Is there a pattern of circumstances that reinforces the experience of hell:

    -Sartre creates a sense of place through dialogue by asking questions and providing answers. Through this, the characteristics of the setting are established. I can imagine what it feels like to stay awake all the time, but only for a short while because I like rest and don’t want to dwell on a life without it. Garcin reacts to this hell by wanting to try it, but by being realistic, in acknowledging that it is impossible. By twisting daily activities to where they are dull, forced, and inconvenient, they can become hell. Yes, I think a pattern is no free will.

    Kayla McCallie
    Period 2

  23. 1. Hell would be a dark, desolate place with nothing. You would suffer physical torture and mental torture as well. All the pain you could ever imagine would be intensified extremely and you would feel all the most terrible emotions constantly.
    2. Anything repetitious becomes overwhelming. Hell could easily be described as anything without a break. Imagine experiencing the worst moment in your life all day every day for eternity, HELL.
    3. Sartre's use of dialogue creates a setting because he uses Garcin to question the others and provides answers too. I love sleep and literally can't imagine not being able to leave a specific place. At first Garcin tries to act like he is unaffected but eventually he realizes this is his hell.

    Matthew Giddings p.3