Essay titles for 'Les Mains Sales'. NB Please email me with the essay title you will be answering.

1. How does the theme of existentialism manifest itself during the play?

2. Why does Hugo do what he does?

3. The Communist party's reaction to the play is entirely understandable.

4. Examine the relationship between Hoederer and Hugo.

5. How does Sartre use Hoederer as a device to represent political realism in the play?

6. How is Hoederer portrayed as a fatherly figure/patriarch?

7. How does Sartre portray the principle female characters (Jessica and Olga), and how are they important in the play?

8. To what extent does Hoederer help Hugo go from the bourgeois, innocent 'child' to a man ?

9. 'Hoederer is the true gentleman of the play'. Discuss this statement making references to the text.

10. Who or what is most responsible for Hugo's failure to kill Hoederer?

11. T6, Sii - Hugo: "Je [ne] suis pas un traitre". Do you agree with Hugo's view of himself?

6. « Non récupérable! » Jusqu’à quel point penses-tu que ces derniers mots de Hugo représentent sa meilleure épitaphe?




New questions

7.

Comment Hugo et Olga réagissent-ils devant la volte-face politique de Hoederer? Lequel des deux vous a impressionné le plus? Expliquez votre réponse.

8. Identifiez et décrivez les machinations politiques dans cette pièce. A votre avis, pourquoi Sartre les a-t-il inclues?

9. Quel est le lien entre le pouvoir, la politique, et les relations amoureuses dans cette pièce? Est-ce que Jessica est amoureuse de Hoederer, de Hugo, ou des deux? Justifiez votre réponse.

10. Comment Hoederer traite-t-il Slick et Georges? À votre avis, quelle est l’importance de ces personnages secondaires?

11. Expliquez le rapport entre Karsky et Le Prince. Pourquoi cèdent-ils aux demandes de Hoederer? Explique pourquoi Sartre a inclus ces deux personnages dans la pièce.

12. Jusqu’à quel point Hugo est le produit de son enfance?

13. Le meurtre de Hoederer : crime de passion ou assassinat politique? Justifiez votre réponse.

14. Comment Sartre met en lumière sa philosophie existentielle dans cette pièce?

15. Jusqu’à quel point peut-on considérer Hoederer comme le vrai père de Hugo?

16. Faites le portrait de Jessica et d’Olga. Pour laquelle des deux femmes avez-vous le plus de sympathie?

Expliquez votre réponse.




6.

« Non récupérable! »
To what extent are Hugo’s last words his best epitaph?
7. How do Hugo and Olga react to Hoederer’s policy turnaround? Which one impressed you most? Explain your answer.

8. Identify and describe the political machinations in this play. In your opinion, why did Sartre base his play around them?

9. What is the link between power, politics, and relationships in this play? Is Jessica in love with Hoederer, Hugo, or both? Justify your answer.

10. How does Hoederer deal with Slick and George? In your opinion, what is the importance of these secondary characters?

11. Explain the relationship between the Prince and Karsky. Why do they yield to the demands of Hoederer? Explain why Sartre included these two characters in the play.

12. To what extent is Hugo the product of his childhood?

13. Hoederer's murder: Crime of passion or political assassination? Justify your answer.

14. How does Sartre expound existential philosophy in this play?

15. To what extent can we consider Hoederer as the true father of Hugo?

16. Consider the characters Jessica and Olga. For which of these two women did you have most sympathy? Explain your answer.




Essay plans

1. How do the themes of existentialism manifest themselves during the play?

Focus on individual themes of Existentialism and how they relate to the play
1. Facticity/ Freedom
a. Jessica
i. Sees herself as an object- I was decided for without my opinion
ii. Realises her freedom- and makes the decision to have sex with Hoederer. Her understanding of her freedom conforms to the thought exercise of the invisible ring- when there are no constraints; it becomes easier to understand the devil. Also relevant to the Absurd- anything could happen- in an amoral universe
b. Hugo
i. Past defining him- not by his actions
ii. Hugo choosing to remake himself as one of the Proletariat- conscious of freedom.
iii. Hugo not making the decision to kill Hoederer, acting like the piece on a chess board and not a player. Was asked to kill Hoederer by Ivan and Olga, did not decide himself
2. Inauthenticity
a. Hugo
i. Actions totally inauthentic- not inline with his own freedom- (puts of assassination because he understands that these actions would be against his freedom to do as he chooses.)

3. Reason/ The Other and The Look
a. Hugo
i. obsession with pure Marxism- ideas that he has not created (i.e. bad faith)
ii. Hugo’s actions also to impress “The Other” (manifested as Jessica, and Hoederer at various times)
b. Hoederer
i. more flexible views- alliance with Nationalist and Fascist parties
ii. True humanist- tries to avoid loss of life, a personal philosophy rather than a contrived one.
4. The Absurd
a. Essentially the unquestionable existence of an amoral universe.
b. Mimicked by events in book-
i. The death of Hoederer- who was trying to do good
ii.
5. Existence Precedes Essence (maybe have this first? Essential part of Existentialist philosophy, but rounds off essay quite cleanly)
a. Hugo’s desire to prove himself
i. Hugo- bourgeois scholar- opposite of Hoederer- does not “do” as it was- “Ne rien faire, rester immobile, serer les coudes contre le corps, porter des gants”
b. Hoederer
i. Dirty hands – Hoederer “J’ai les mains sales.”- doing is vital, and we are defined by our actions


W.Kaufhold

Paragraph 1:
  • Hugo never really took the task of killing Hoederer seriously from the beginning. 'Raskolnikov' a fiction name for himself
Paragraph 2:
  • Why did he kill Hoederer?
  • so Jessica would respect him and treat him more like a man. 'me prenne au serieux'
  • because he caught Jessica hugging Hoederer and was jealous of him taking his wife.
Paragraph 3:
  • got to be the personal side of things because even with alcohol he was unable to bring himself to kill Hoederer.
  • he never actually believed in the political reasons for killing Hoederer.
Conclusion:
  • it is clear that the reason for Hugo killing Hoederer was completely because of his personal life and struggles with Jessica.
  • although his reaction to the news when he saw them together may have been fuelled by the alcohol he had drunken earlier.
Sir- how can i improve.


4. Examine the relationship between Hoederer and Hugo. - Jasper Farlow

Intro - Hugo as young, naive bourgeois, Hoederer as older, more mature leader of a political party. Highlight Hugo's internal conflict over killing Hoederer, his beliefs etc, and outline Hoederer's character.

Paragraph 1 - Examine Hugo's feelings towards Hoederer. Awe, respect, fright, intimidation. Examine Hoederer's feelings towards Hugo. Hoederer as a fatherly/patriarchal figure. Sees him as naive and conflicted, not understanding his motives to gaining power. Quote from 2nd + 3rd Tableaux.

Paragraph 2 - Feelings of both towards both about politics. Hugo as a purist, Hoederer as a humanist. Hugos desire to prove himself by killing Hoederer, how that affects their relationship. Discuss how Hugo is swayed by Hoederer's charm over time, and how Hoederer is willing to help him pass into manhood.

Paragraph 3 - Their seperate relationships with Jessica, leading up to Hoederer's death. Hugo is more Jessica's brother than Husband. Jessica is attracted to Hoederer (older, more mature) + Hoederer to Jessica. Discuss their talks together, and talk about how Hugo's motive is also to make his wife respect him. Talk briefly about Hoederer's death.

Conclusion - Hugo's relationship with Hoederer is darkened by the fact that he is there to kill him. Complications with Jessica do not help, but Hoederer is willing to guide Hugo and turn him into a man, even after he finds out Hugo is there to kill him.

Quotes to include
"Ne te crispe pas, mon petit" - Shows dominance and parental, caring quality

"Hum! Il est vulgaire!" - Shows how Hugo despises Hoederer at the beginning of the novel.

2. Why does hugo do what he does? - James de Giorgio

Intro - Explain that Hugo was sent by his party on a mission to kill Hoederer because Hugo's party did not agree with their party trying to take power.
Ask whether Hugo's motives were solely the party's asking for or if he himself had personal motives.
Understand the story told by Hugo to Olga in his own opinion.

Paragraph 1 - Explain how it is difficult for Hugo to complete the mission as he looks up to Hoederer.
Explain how unknowledgeable Hugo is in terms of politics and his party and opinions.\
Explain how because Hugo is bourgeois, the party treat him in a different way. The killing of Hoederer will allow Hugo to prove himself to his party.

Paragraph 2 - What were Hugo's motives for killing Hoederer?
Give reasons including proving himself to Jessica and jealousy towards Hoederer.
Explain how Hugo drunk lots to try get himself to kill Hoederer.
Explain how Hugo believed more and more to kill Hoederer for personal motives than political.

Conclusion - Sum up in conclusion Hugo's alcoholic lifestyle.
Sum up his reasons for killing Hoederer and his different motives.
Explain the difficulty of killing Hoederer.

Tarquin Pereira

2. Why does Hugo do what he does?

MAIN MOTIVATIONS:

INTRO - Hugo first of all is sent by Louis to kill Hoederer to stop him making an political alliance with Karsky and Hutch. Hugo’s party does not want to be associated with the pentagon and the regent as they do not want to compromise their policies.

As Hugo comes from a wealthy background, people of the party don’t think of him as strong, however Hugo wants to prove to people like Olga and Jessica that he is strong by killing Hoederer.
vous me prenez pour un lach p. 220 - you take me for a coward

He wants to gain power and respect, so he can ascend higher into politics.

He wants something different than his previous life typing for a job.

HOWEVER:

He wastes time and puts off killing Hoederer.

Hugo can’t decide whether Louis or Hoederer should die, and doesn’t see why Hoederer should be the one to die for the party.

The party changes their views on Hoederer’s opinions, which makes Hugo more fustrated.

He has little / no experience in killing and is insecure
J'en suis a me demander si je l'ai tue pour de vrai p.235 – I am beginning to wonder if I can kill for real.
personne ne me fait confiance p. 219 - nobody trusts me

Hoederer is an imposing but respected figure to Hugo.

Because of these reasons that put Hugo off killing Hoederer, he only kills Hoederer because of blind rage, which is caused by:

Alcohol, Hugo is not very resistant to the effects of alcohol and kills Hoederer when he is not in his normal state of mind.

He sees Hoederer and Jessica kissing, which is the main reason that drives Hugo into a rage and kills Hoederer.













Intro:
  • Hugo wanted a mission and was sent by the Party to kill Hoederer because the party didn't like what he was trying to do to the party and didn't like the way Hoederer was planning to take power.
  • Throughout the play we know that Hugo has killed Hoederer from the first Tableau.
Paragraph 1:
  • Hugo’s character - never really took the task of killing Hoederer seriously from the beginning. 'Raskolnikov' a fiction name for himself
  • Hugo also seems to admire Hoederer too much. This is shown by his reaction to Hoerderer when they first meet. He says to Jessica, ‘je sens que le vrai gout du cafe est dans sa bouche a lui.’
Paragraph 2:
  • Why did he kill Hoederer?
  • So Jessica would respect him and treat him more like a man. 'me prenne au serieux'
  • Because he caught Jessica hugging Hoederer and was jealous of him taking his wife.
Paragraph 3:
  • Got to be the personal side of things because even with alcohol he was unable to bring himself to kill Hoederer.
  • he never actually believed in the political reasons for killing Hoederer although he says that Hoederer is ‘un social-traitre’ and that he thinks ‘la guerre a l’U.R.S.S. [is] le moyan le plus efficace de sauvagarder l’independance nationale.’ We can see that this is false however because he speaks to Olga at the end of the play and reveals that he ‘tue parce que j’avais ouvert la porte... mais pas de Jessica’ this proves that it was not the political reasons that he killed Hoederer but his personal reasons.
Conclusion:
  • It is clear that the reason for Hugo killing Hoederer was completely because of his personal life and struggles with Jessica.
  • Although his reaction to the news when he saw them together may have been fuelled by the alcohol he had drunken earlier.