'Is Humanity Dying?'. Kim Anatol Elastin says : ''PEOPLE CLAIM THEY KNOW everything about the world. Unfortunately they know least about themselves.''

Albert Camus in his mind shattering novel  ' The Fall ' writes that a human being, believing in his unconquerable power, has taken on a sham identity, therefore he has to bear his sorrow himself, hence cannot share them due to his facade.

The Fall has been acknowledged as one of the best novels written by Camus - admired even by Sartre, whose opinion was a seal for making the novel a craze in the literary circles of France, when it was published. Why it got such an overwhelming response can only be understood by recounting its crus here :

Clemons, the protagonist of the novel, hears a resounding but friendly laugh behind him; however when he tries to look at the person, venting it, he finds no one. Upon reaching home, when he looks in the mirror, he finds as if his smile has two folds.

After the incident, he perceives a change in himself that unlike the past, he now knows things about himself - one of which is that he is a worthless actor, acting for his interest only. His life is nothing but a repetition of the same incidents over and over again, and also of 'I' and ' I am '.

But despite this, he is divided into two parts, as once being beaten up by a stranger at market, he remains engulfed in the sense of gloom and bitterness. He tells that in his youth he was a sort of philanderer and would enjoy his pursuits till he had had enough of them.

Nevertheless, following the mysterious laughter, a weird thing has happened in his life : he has begun to hear the footfalls of death.

But instead of helping the poor, he began to insult them. His demeanour has no pause even at that point rather it stretches to a level that now he indiscriminately misbehaves with people. At times, he wonders why he is committing all this, so he keeps himself from it and immerses in drinking but to no avail. 

In the meantime, he recalls the memory of the slim woman, who jumped into the river Seine before but but he could not discourage her from suicide. Now he feels that she is waiting for him in her dress of mourning. The ongoing conundrum in his mind propels him to detest religion.

During this turmoil, a concept of assumption is bred in his consciousness that he is not a superman, because he has spoken about his pains and adversites loudly.

Unfortunately, one day he falls ill; and in bed, different events of the past flash in his mind, particularly of war in which he is made the reverend priest because upon asking in the camp, in jest he accepts that he is the one who has faced failures more than anyone in the war.

So by tradition, he becomes a sacred leader among soldiers but with responsibility to arrange water for the soldiers in the camp.

One day in delirium, instead of giving it to a dying soldier, he slakes his thirst first. Thus, he is suffering the punishment of a wish : to dissuade the woman from jumping into river Seine so that they may set themselves free of the unending torture.

'Slavery to needs' is a key metaphor of The Fall : that he is alone and barren cannot even be concealed by oration. Nonetheless, he is sure that people like him are the way of light. But over the years they have attained artificiality at the cost of their innocence. 

The study of The Fall reveals the actual image of humanity wherein human beings are seen trapped in difficulties, and therefore have a dream of a simple and easy life.

Klas Pontus Arnoldson, the Nobel Prize Winner from Sweden, while receiving the prize, said in his address:

There is an old Norwegian tale that there was a time when the paths were laid out with bricks of gold and silver. That was why the abundance of both precious metals would not incline people to sin.

There was a time when people were both honest and discerning. Because of that, their laws and traditions were gentle. The populace of that peaceful and prosperous lived an ideal life.

But this paradise on earth owing to superficial disagreements got interred in the quagmire. Nevertheless, despite the passing of centuries, the hope of regaining paradise lost has not disappeared till now.

Fundamentally, the human being is honest by nature, or he is both good and bad. In all, there is a need to work on him. And we should keep this fact in mind that humankind still needs constant care and uplifting for future generations.

The World Students Society thanks author Aftab Ahmed Khanzada.


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