Essay on Calvin and Hobbes: An Existentialist View

1938 Words 8 Pages
Calvin and Hobbes: An Existentialist View

Faster and faster, the slick red wagon slaloms across the rocky terrain, carrying a blonde-headed boy and his stuffed tiger along each turn of the track. Calvin, an imaginative six year old who makes us laugh with his childish antics, and Hobbes, the philosophical stuffed tiger, both make a statement about the world they were created in. Calvin and Hobbes is essentially an existentialist comic strip. Through Calvin’s desperate and unique choices and circumstances, he untraditionally fights against a continually changing world. His actions portray the disorder in which we are all controlled in a meaningless existence against a ferocious society, a ruthless nature, and inevitable death.
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Yet, despite his polls and his judgments, Calvin realizes that he is trapped in a world of chain reactions. In Existentialism, the choices we make are the result of prior choices, and each decision determines the range of the next choices we face. When plummeting down a hill in his speedy red wagon, Calvin arbitrarily chooses left. His first decision to even start down the hill creates a chain reaction of choices that ultimately leaves him jumping from a cliff into a river.

The cataclysms Calvin experiences result from forced blind decisions. As Existentialists see it, we have no control over our choices, because in making a choice we limit ourselves on any further choices we wish to make. We are unable to predict the outcome of our choices, and so these blind choices lead to an unknowable future. This human essence creates anxiety for each choice we make as we realize that all individuals are trapped into making a unique existence that ultimately differs from another’s choice; these desperate choices undermine our ability to choose wisely as the anxiety increases with the uncontrollable.

Calvin’s red wagon and oftentimes his slick sled are therefore the philosophical mediums used to convey a changing world and the choices we need to constantly make. The visual artwork undermines our fear as we realize that fate would have us all jumping from the cliffs that blind choices lead us to. Never knowing where we will end up creates

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