Meaninglessness In James Patterson's The Children Of Sisyphus

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In James Patterson’s novel, The Children of Sisyphus, he uses the characters, Solomon, Dinah, and Cyrus to show the hopelessness in life and how their lives are meaningless. These three characters are stuck trying to complete the Sisyphean task of finding meaning in their lives and escape the cycle of hopelessness. Dinah and Brother Solomon find an escape from pushing the rock through death, but Cyrus continues to push because he is blinded by the absurdity of his life. The final portion of this novel functions as a pivotal moment for the characters where they either continue with the task or find an escape from the cycle of futility. Patterson uses these three characters to embody Sisyphus and show the absurdity and meaninglessness behind…show more content…
Throughout the novel, Solomon’s goal is to achieve transcendence, but every time he is on the cusp of succeeding, he is denied. Similar to Sisyphus, Solomon continues to push to reach his goal. For Solomon, his goal is to transcendence so he can “see everything,” but this makes him leave behind the ignorance that kept him content with life in the Dungle (Patterson 215). Since Solomon can “see the whole extent of the sky,” or the entirety of his life, he is able to see how monotonous and fruitless the human life is and the endless cycle of hopeless poverty the people in the Dungle face (Patterson 215). Another point that reinforces the meaninglessness in Solomon’s life is in Sic Vitae. Solomon thought that the sonnet gave his life meaning and direction while he was in the Dungle but after he transcends he finds it foolish. He sees the mortality and…show more content…
Out of the three characters, Cyrus is the only one who continues to push his metaphorical rock. Camus’s theory that Sisyphus is happy pushing the rock up the hill with the expectation that one-day it will not roll back down can be seen in Cyrus’s belief in Rastafarianism. Cyrus believes that they Holy Emperor will be coming for all of the Rastafarians to take them away from the wickedness of Babylon. However, this is dramatic irony because the reader knows the ship will never come and the people of the Dungle will be forced to continue to live meaningless lives. As readers, one can see that there is no hope for Cyrus; he is stuck waiting for something that will never happen. Cyrus uses Rastafarianism as a coping mechanism, he believes with the “deep fervor of his faith,” that a ship is going to come and help them escape the cycle. These beliefs allow Cyrus to explain away his personal misfortune as a trial that he and the others must endure before they can go to the promise land. The novel ends with Cyrus saying, “Tomorrow, tomorrow we shall meet again in paradise,” he like Sisyphus has tomorrow to try and escape futility. Overall, this creates an endless cycle that fuels the meaninglessness behind the lives of those in the Dungle. Cyrus is doomed to think that there is some hope for him in the next day, when in reality he is stuck waiting for nothing and never trying to break the cycle. Patterson
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