Friday, January 18, 2013

Baudelaire's To the Reader can be compared to the underground man

In Baudelaire's To the Reader, Baudelaire criticizes humanity and how we let the devil control us as we constantly commit sins.  Baudelaire explains to the reader that he is tired of humans acting like this and it just displays life as a bunch of boredom.  I think that the underground man shares the same kind of views that Baudelaire has when he criticizes the reader in his poem.  Just like Baudelaire says the reader sins and doesn't put proper thought and effort into stuff, the underground man distances himself from society due to these same reasons.  The underground man enjoys analyzing life and has trouble understanding the world filled with men of action around him. Perhaps the underground man distances himself due to his boredom and lack of satisfaction with the world.


Madeline Davis said...

I would agree that the Underground Man is seriously affected by ennui. He seems so genuinely disconnected from life and reality and the rest of society that he couldn't be normal if he tried (and he does try...but he doesn't succeed.)
In "To the Reader", the speaker is criticizing people like the Underground Man, although the UM is at a very extreme end of the spectrum. I feel that Baudelaire accurately characterized the "boredom" as self-destructive and that same self-destructive emotional apathy is what drives the UM to essentially screw up his own life.

Tyler Dean said...

I agree with both of you. As Mrs. Quinet told us, Baudelaire writes a lot about ennui, as does dostoyevsky. Both To The Reader and Notes From Underground are written essentially on that topic. UM is overpowered by ennui. He feels that the world isnt worthy of him, and that he isnt worthy of the world at the same time. It is a quite odd paradox, but I think that that is the definition of ennui. In To The Reader, Baudelaire says the main vice of our world in boredom, which is the origin of ennui. Both writers feel that boredom is a pervasive problem in society, and they write how it can hurt us.

Michell D said...

Personally, I think that instead of them having similar complaints, the underground man is someone who Baudelaire would complain about. He is someone who has no addition to society, is unable to choose a side on any issue, and is a generally indecisive and sedentary person. The underground man really wouldn't have much to say about Baudelaire, mostly because most of the things he said were concerning himself. But I can see the similarities between Baudelaire and Dostoyevsky because they were both writers whose works got them into trouble.