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Jasmin Fryer, 2023 2nd Place Critical Analysis

Submissions for the Critical Analysis category should critically evaluate or analyze a piece of literature, a theatrical performance, a work of visual art, a historical moment, a philosophical argument, a social movement, etc. Submissions should not exceed 20 pages. Jasmin Fryer wrote the 2nd place submission in the Critical Analysis Category for the 2023 President’s Writing Awards.

About Jasmin

Jasmin Fryer

Jasmin Fryer is currently getting her degree in Secondary Education with a focus on English as well as her Minor in Creative Writing. She loves all things reading and writing and can’t wait to start teaching the next generation about the subject she loves so much. Jasmin’s ultimate goal is to become a published author in order to share her voice and stories with all those around her. When she isn’t reading or writing, Jasmin can be found playing her guitar, drinking tea, or spending time with friends and family.

Winning Submission – Transcendent Freedom in Simone de Beauvoir

In her autobiography Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, one witnesses famed French existentialist Simon de Beauvoir grow from a newborn baby with her first memories into an educated young woman on her way to graduating from the Sorbonne. Within these years of her life, de Beauvoir describes the challenges she faces growing up and the adventures she has meeting new friends and discovering her own identity. Being a woman living with a bourgeois family in the early 1900s, Simone comes face to face with all of the classist and gendered expectations to be a passive, pious, domestic, young lady whose life is meant for a husband. While other character’s such as her best friend, Elizabeth “Zaza” Mabille, her cousin and crush Jacques Laiguillon, and her own mother Françoise demonstrated the life intended for those of the bourgeois class with often disastrous ends, Simone breaks free and sets off on her own path. Surrounded by lives trapped in the control of others by their immanent actions, Simone de Beauvoir’s childhood development demonstrates the transcendent freedom one can achieve through active choices.

Transcendence, in existential terms, refers to the attitude a person has towards themselves situated in a project. According to Steven Crowell, a professor of philosophy at Rice University, the term transcendence is used to “indicate that the agent [person] ‘goes beyond’ what simply is toward what can be” based on the person’s “own will or agency.” This means that a person’s actions and choices decide the outcome of the world around them. With this in mind, if a person possesses transcendent freedom, it could be inferred that they hold the ability to ‘go beyond’ the world around them to freely make their own choices and inversely have the freedom to make their own choices and shape the world around them. Immanence is a term used to describe transcendence’s opposite. An immanent person is trapped within the world and is forced to bend to the will of it. They are project-less, essentially without anything to strive to freedom through, and because of this they are reduced to a life perpetually controlled by others.

Throughout her childhood, Simone de Beauvoir makes many different active choices in order to possess this transcendent freedom and oppose her immanent surroundings. To start with, one of the most influential moments in the direction of her life toward freedom comes when she decides to disown God. Her mother is a highly religious woman and from a young age Simone followed in her footsteps. As a child, she would go to mass, say her prayers, and be as pious and supplicant as she could be, not only for her own religious fervor, but also in respect for her mother’s religion. To de Beauvoir, there was no “distinction between [her mother’s] all-seeing wisdom and the eye of God Himself,” (Memoirs 38). Yet, despite these deep ties religion had in her daily routine and in the relationship between herself and her mother, in her early adolescent years Simone “realized that [God] was playing no further part in [her] life and so… He had ceased to exist for [her]” (Memoirs 137). While the decision brought consequences against her later, Simone was still brave enough to actively go against what was expected of her and to forge her own atheistic path. She made the transcendent decision to reject Christian teachings and in doing so practiced her own freedom.

Another active decision Simone made was not only straying from her mother’s religious beliefs but also straying from her father’s political and social beliefs. While one does not have to stray from the beliefs of their parents to stake a claim in their own free life, actively choosing a personal stance on such matters allows for one to actively make their own choices rather than be shackled by the expectations of those whom the beliefs are leeched off of. However, in the case of Simone, following the beliefs of her family would also mean accepting the classist and gendered ideals of the 1900s. Her father “appreciated elegance and beauty in women” and “above all else, he prized… perfect manners” but these were things that she, self-admittedly, was not and if she followed them, she would be denying her own self (Beauvoir, Memoirs 107, 176). Her father also “considered that a woman’s place was in the home, that she should be an ornament to polite society,” but once again, succumbing to these pressures from her father would mean denying her independent life and shackling herself to the scrutiny of others within a married life (Memoirs 176). Her choice to stray from her father’s beliefs lead her to disown the notions of bourgeois society and focus instead on her studies and own interests for the truth of the world.

A final example of an active choice that influentially shapes her life into one of freedom and transcendence is when she decides to study at the Sorbonne. The Sorbonne allowed her access to an independent life from her family and an education that would catapult her into her future life projects of being a writer and philosopher. To Simone, the Sorbonne meant that “the future was no longer just an impossible dream” but rather just “four or five years of study, and then a whole way of life which [she] would build up with [her] own hands” (Beauvoir, Memoirs 169).

Not only is her choice to study there what pushes her towards her transcendence, but it is also the dedication that she puts toward her education that supersedes any other societal expectation that might play for her attention. As other girls continued their schooling in order to “adapt themselves to their role of marriageable young girls” and thus became “dull and stupid,” Simone was “pushing forward and developing all the time” (Beauvoir, Memoirs 174). As others “served tea, smiled and smiled, and talked amiably about nothing” and performed their daughterly duties as “ornaments in their mothers’ drawing-rooms,” Simone could not be bothered with such frivolous, societal duties when her “studies should not just represent an off-shoot of [her] life, but should be [her] entire life itself” (Beauvoir, Memoirs 179). Simone would not have time to be dragged off to a socially accepted, immanent life because her choice to be dedicated to her education left her constantly in the project of shaping her future life of freedom.

However, while Simone makes a variety of choices that are difficult but inevitably lead her closer to herself, these choices do not necessarily bring her immediate change. For instance, her original religious morals still maintain enough of a hold within her that she continues to be hesitant about participating in activities once deemed inappropriate. In conjunction, she also passes judgment on others for practicing similar acts like excessive drinking, bad manners, and sexual experimentations of any kind outside of holy matrimony. Because these morals stem from a religion she no longer believes in they hold her back from becoming fully herself at the time. While this might have held other characters back from their transcendent freedom to act and live their own life, what makes Simone truly different is that she goes beyond her current mental limits and still actively strives to her improvement. Simone boldly states “I promised myself that I would practice no more self-deceit, and I begged Pradelle to help me guard against all falsehood… I decided that I would consecrate the years to come to an unrelenting search for truth. ‘I shall work and slave till I find it’” (Beauvoir, Memoirs 248). Many characters would continue to let their original beliefs have a firm hold on them and thus keep them back from the brink of becoming their true self, but Simone instead promises to never let herself stay tied down. After practicing active choice after active choice, her ability to shape the world around her and go beyond just what is, allows her to access transcendent freedom that pushes her toward what she wants in life over what others might condemn her to.

But, while Simone is able to make this leap into transcendent freedom, her best friend Elizabeth “Zaza” Mabille’s story comes as a reminder that it only is reachable by constantly pushing towards a ‘project’ lest they fall into immanence. Witnessing Zaza as Simone’s childhood best friend one is granted an insight into her life from early adolescents until her untimely death. Zaza, in her early years, is a bodacious and lively girl who seemed even earlier than Simone to be on the track to her own transcendence. Zaza had a “vivacity and independence of spirit” that went against the complacent and dulled attitudes Simone saw in the people around her (Beauvoir, Memoirs 94). Zaza’s early life consists of a variety of small active choices and freedoms, but ultimately, they do not add up to enough. According to Clémentine Beauvais in her article Simone de Beauvoir and the Ambiguity of Childhood, “the child is theorized by Beauvoir as being in bad faith, but a specific type of bad faith: one in which existential awareness exists in an embryonic form, and therefore may ‘erupt’ at any time” (Beauvais 335). This quote is not about Zaza specifically but the theorized notion of existential awareness, or transcendence, being in its embryonic stage within Zaza’s child state is clear. Young Zaza spends her childhood years brimming with rebellion against the societal pressures of the immanent world around her and pushes towards her freedom head on. Unfortunately, as the reader watches Zaza grow, they do not see her continue this rebellion and move past the embryonic phase.

Instead, as Zaza gets older, the pressure of her mother’s expectations and beliefs diminish her ability to have free and active choices. Contrasting with Simone, Zaza does not choose to break away from the Christian religion of her mother and that attachment to her religion would trap her from ever making her own active decisions.  Even when it came to fighting for the boy of her dreams, a boy her mother did not approve of, “Zaza was too much of a Christian to dream of disobeying her mother” (Beauvoir, Memoirs 250). Had she been able to break away from the hold her mother and her religion had on her, maybe then she would have nurtured that embryo of transcendent freedom originally living within her into a life of her own choosing, but this would not be the case. Even later in her life when she has a second chance to marry for love instead of class security like her mother pushed for “Zaza dreaded her mother’s opposition” and thus she let go of her project of free choice to obey the commands of another (Beauvoir, Memoirs 222). She allowed her own fears and her mother’s hold on her to sabotage her hopes for a happy, love-filled life.

In a sad turn of events, her doubt and wavering incapacitate her from ever being able to develop out of that embryonic stage, leaving her forever in her immanence. In Zaza’s last act made out of free choice, she went to the house of the boy she loved and asked his mother why they couldn’t marry. With her act of defiance in a way that was “not done” but in a manner that needed doing, Zaza was granted her choice and finally permitted by both her mother and his to marry for love (Beauvoir, Memoirs 359). Sadly, that choice would quickly be rendered irrelevant by her death that followed it so closely. As one scholar, Alison Fell, puts it “any attempt to secure a middle ground between the opposition of mother/immanence and daughter/transcendence leads inevitably to the adoption of a ‘project-less’ identity that is equivalent to death,” and in this case, a literal death (99). Because Zaza tried to circumvent making a truly active choice by waiting on her mother’s approval, trying to find a middle ground where they could both be satisfied, her spirits withered away and she was left to the death her actions merited her. The doctors were left uncertain of the cause of her young death and de Beauvoir even questions if it had been due to “exhaustion and anxiety” (Memoirs 360). If Zaza had been upfront with her wants from the beginning and made the choice for herself— regardless of having to go against her mother’s control— to marry her love, maybe then she would not have died so young. She would not have been so anxious, bedraggled, doubt-filled, stressed, and exhausted from trying to keep peace with others had she chosen to live for herself and actively choose her own path. Her body would have been more fit to fight off whatever took her under had she been able to nurture her transcendence out of its embryonic phase and allow it to make an impact on her freedom in the situation.

Jacques Laiguillion, the cousin and love interest of Simone de Beauvoir, is another character in her life who seemed to possess that embryonic trace of transcendent freedom in childhood but was once again hindered from ever seeing it develop. Despite being a man with easier access to education and more license to make free decisions, these benefits do not lift him out completely of the bourgeois expectations coming from his own mind and his family. According to de Beauvoir, Jacques was “talkative and a great charmer […] he knew far more than [she] did about the world, about human affairs, painting, and literature” in his adolescents (Memoirs 172). Jacques went out on his own and adventured into the world to discover his passions; he learned much and he even seemed to disagree with the views of Monsieur de Beauvoir similar to Simone. Looking at his life from afar, it seemed he would have an even greater opportunity to form his own life and gain that coveted transcendent freedom in his life than Simone or Zaza. His initial power over them as a male with more rights and thus more freedom would be an improvement to his odds as well as his predisposition to learning and head start in developing his own philosophies with new age ideas. However, these benefits would not be enough to allow him eruption from the embryonic state.

The issue with Jacques’s life that Simone would come to find is that he did not make these choices actively for himself to shape his world or push towards his own projects. He would instead do it for the benefit of and at the behest of those around him. Jacques would “make a great display of his respect for bourgeoise institutions” and “he strained after conformity as if he had never belonged by right of birth to the caste he claimed kinship with” (Beauvoir, Memoirs 200-201). His actions and choices in life to become educated, to attend certain events, and to have certain beliefs, were not made to better himself or to strive towards the completion of a project but were instead made to please others. Simone chose education to forward herself on to her goals and aspirations. He sought to impress others with his knowledge, not actually learn from it. Simone chose to break away from the opinions of others so that she could break away from the hold they could have on her life and push off the constraints of bourgeois life. Jacques on the other hand, made no attempt to follow his own path to freedom and instead made every choice to conform to the expectations of the society around him.

In the end, the final nail in his immanent coffin comes when he is “transformed into a calculating bourgeois” and settles down in a “marriage for status over his own preference” (Beauvoir, Memoirs 347). From this passive decision, his circumstance becomes worse when he stays in his situation of immanence and does not work to improve it. Two philosophers and researchers on Simone de Beauvoir, Debra Bergoffen and Megan Bruke, argued that in de Beauvoir’s beliefs, “to choose to remain a child is an act of bad faith” and, unlike Simone, Jacques does not rise into adulthood, “to reject the mystification of childhood and to take responsibility for [his] choices,” but instead he hides behind the curtain of the bourgeois lifestyle. Jacques is shown to never change from his childish ways and instead continues living to impress others and be the perfect bourgeois heir. Ultimately, his tendency to “get to the top in a single leap” instead of working for his progression and using free choice to make his own place in the world leaves him “without either money or work” and to divorcing the wife he married for security (Beauvoir, Memoirs 347-348). The boy who once held so much promise as to capture the heart of the free-thinking de Beauvoir soon transformed into a desolate man who refused to take responsibility for anything and only sought a quick fix to his problems or them middle ground between letting the world control him, immanence, and making his own life for himself, transcendence. As a result, he never leaves his embryonic stage, and similarly to Zaza, his life never amounts to more than what could simply be considered a metaphorical death at an early age. He’s trapped in his boyhood ways and is thus punished by the immanent world he let control him

The final example of a character succumbing to immanence in the midst of Simone achieving her own transcendence is her mother, Françoise de Beauvoir. According to scholar Alison Fell and much of de Beauvoir’s own writings, “motherhood, generally, is an inauthentic and enslaving identity for women” (100). In the case of Françoise, this theory is proven no different. For most of Françoise’s life, “She dreaded criticism, and, in order to avoid it, took pains to be ‘like everybody else’” and in doing so became “profoundly conscious of her responsibilities, and took to heart her duties of mother and counselor” (Beauvoir, Memoirs 37-38). Motherhood and being a wife became the central meaning of her life in which she lived every moment to care for others over herself and bent her life into the shape society expected it to be. As is the responsibility of a mother, her choices were bound up in the consideration of her charges and thus never focused on her own self or projects. While this is a noble action, it is an action that limits the amount of freedom she can have and forces her choices into immanence over transcendence. She is enslaved by her role as a mother and can no longer achieve transcendent freedom whilst still being forced to put others’ choices before her own.

The only true active choice that Françoise makes is to be a devout and pious Christian no matter how she’s judged or how society moves around her. She is shown to allow for the lack of piety in the lives of those around her, but as for her own life, “she preserved, in her heart of hearts, a rigorously inflexible personal morality” (Memoirs 38). No matter what others told her nor how her own atheist husband might laugh at her inflexible Christian standards, she never gave up her religious practices. She actively pushed towards a fuller relationship with God in her own life and worked to shape the rest of her world around this choice.

However, while this piety and practice is an active pursuit for Françoise, her failure to achieve transcendent freedom through this comes when she allows the culture of Catholicism to make decisions for her. In Catholic culture, women are expected only to marry and have children. Their lives are to be dedicated to raising their children in the faith and to submitting to the choices of their husbands and nothing else. As de Beauvoir states in an interview with Margaret Simmons, “a woman who only lives for marriage and motherhood is miserable” and, seeming to prove this statement, Françoise is left in this miserable state because her own actively chosen religion forces her to remain there (23). Her religion’s culture doesn’t allow her the time to do what Crowell claims to be one of the main points of existentialism and analyze her own “patterns of behavior” in order to “uncover the ‘fundamental project’ or basic choice of oneself that gives distinctive shape to an individual life.” As a mother and dedicated Catholic, Françoise had no time to give to analyzing her own life and discovering her own transcendent freedom. Simone was able to actively choose to strive towards betterment and self-discovery, but Françoise was left bending to the will of the societal expectations around her and thus could not find her fundamental project.

Similar to Zaza and Jacques, Françoise is described to have a chance at transcendent freedom but it is later on in life as described in another autobiography by de Beauvoir entitled A Very Easy Death. In this novel written after the death of Françoise, de Beauvoir writes how, after she and her sister moved out and Monsieur de Beauvoir passed away, her mother was able to start a life that was more fully her own. She is described to have gone back and gotten an education, worked as a librarian, studied multiple languages, traveled Europe, and volunteered in charities.  Françoise “had taken advantage of the freedom that had been given back to her to rebuild a kind of life for herself that matched her own tastes” (Beauvoir, Very Easy Death 18). But, while her attempts to use her freedom are admirable, they are— like Zaza’s— compromises with immanence and transcendence and must end in death, in this case it is once again literal. Here Françoise has the time now to reflect and enter into a state of self-discovery for her fundamental project, but because she waits so long to finally make choices for herself— only doing so after passively waiting for the responsibilities as wife and mother to fall away from her— she regrettably gets to live in that new life for only so long. At the end of it, she is forced back into her true immanent state at the hands of male doctors who treat her like a child, and her health and life are taken out of her hands.

While the characters in de Beauvoir’s life are great examples of those who are unable to achieve transcendence, the examples do not stop outside of her social sphere. For instance, my own father who has been forced into the role of the traditional ‘mother’ in my household is another example of immanence caused by parental responsibilities. He is also another example of transcendence stopping in the embryonic form and being unable to flourish in adulthood. My father grew up being a strongly opinionated and independent person. Despite growing up poor and in a single parent household, he did not allow his circumstances to dictate the life that he would have. He actively chose to further his education and get a Bachelor’s in nursing, married for love and pursued a career that developed his own self and gave his life something to work towards. Unfortunately, due to his chronic illness that fully set in during his mid-twenties, my father’s ability to choose the life he wanted became severely limited and he was forced to quit his job and live within the traditional ‘mother’ role by taking care of my brother and me. In doing so, all of his energy and focus was placed on raising us kids over the pursuit of his own passions. His happiness became tied up in taking care of the household and his responsibilities as a parent left him unable to actively choose how his world would be shaped. He no longer made choices for himself but instead put the choices of his children first, leading him to live a moderately miserable life similar to that of Françoise. Even now, with my brother and I living as adult and no longer being his responsibility, his illness and his mental predisposition towards the support of others above himself also leaves him with no time to discover his fundamental project (Crowell). He is a kind and loving man, but in his way he will never be able to reach transcendent freedom and the compromises he made will lead him to the same immanent death that the others surrounding Simone faced.

At the end of her novel, de Beauvoir mentions that “for a long time [she] believed that [she] had paid for [her] own freedom with [Zaza’s] death” (Memoirs 360). In my own way, I feel like I have paid for mine with the death of my father’s transcendence. Because of my father’s sacrifice of his own freedom, I was allowed to live a life where I could nurture my own embryo of transcendent freedom and watch it flourish into adulthood. Similar to de Beauvoir, I had religious pressures from my family to be a wife and mother first and foremost in my life and to be the perfect young lady. But I was also able to make my own active choices to push past the expectations of those around me and do what I wanted with my life. Contrary to de Beauvoir however, I chose to accept religion into my life rather than rejecting it, but because this is a choice that I actively pursue and use to shape my future, it is not one that forces me into immanence as it did with Françoise. My faith, contrary to Françoise’s, supports free will and doesn’t prevent me from becoming my free self based on cultural reasons, it rather gives me the strength to move forward with my own choices and pursue a transcendent life.

Outside of religion, my constant pursuit of the truth and what is truth has pushed me to deny any false societal expectations that might be pressed into my life. As de Beauvoir did, this pursuit of truth has led me to discover “that I ‘am’ not anything but must ‘make myself be’ through my choice” (Crowell). My choices are my own and the active pursuit of them has led me to where I am now. I actively chose to get a degree in education much to the warnings of some of my family members, I chose to pursue the life of an author to tell the stories that matter to me, and I chose to claim my faith as my own and allow its presence in my life. These choices, made in active pursuit of the project of finding my true self, have allowed me to have transcendent freedom and in turn garner more freedom for myself in the pursuit to make more active, free choices.

Currently, as I’m still in the years of adolescence (19), I possess the ability to lose my transcendence and fall into the trap of immanence. de Beauvoir’s own life was full of tribulations that could have prevented her ascension to transcendent freedom. For instance, after meeting Jean Sartre and forming a relationship with him, her intimacy with him could have easily led her to give up her life of freedom and live every day for him. But, in her constant pursuit of freedom, she avoided this and “never sacrificed [herself] for Sartre” (de Beauvoir, et al. 23).

Even in her younger years, though she was constantly faced with her parents’ disapproval, the judgment of her extended family, and the pressures of bourgeois societal expectations, she still had “no tendency to self-sacrifice” (Beauvoir, et al. 24). For example, when she was just a small child and still held greatly to the opinion and direction of her mother, when “even her slightest frown was a threat to [Simone’s] security” and “without her [mother’s] approval, [she] no longer felt [she] had any right to live” she still found her ways to be herself and “fight shy of her” (Beauvoir, Memoris 41-42). In secret she would play games with her sister that were not sanctioned by her mother, she found ways to read the books denied to her, and she discovered ways to learn about her own sexuality despite the aversion that her mother had to the topic. Regardless of what expectations or difficulties from others stood in her way, de Beauvoir pushed forward to learn the truth and make her own active choices in the situation. It was this continuous pursuit of the preservation of her freedom regardless of others that allowed her to surpass all those around her and take hold of the transcendent freedom allotted to her by her active choices. It was this pursuit that even allowed her to publish the autobiography of her life despite it being a genre not yet entirely encouraging of female life narratives. While names are changed and the issue of memory might obscure the details of certain events, the narrative itself speaks to the freedom Simone de Beauvoir possess to examine her own life and is proof to her pursuit in her project to become an author. With inspiration from de Beauvoir in my own life, I can secure my own freedom and live a life according to my own choices and projects in the continuous pursuit of truth and active choices regardless of the pressures put upon me.

While Zaza, Jacques, and Françoise each had their own opportunities to achieve transcendent freedom from their socially-expected lives, they were all found incapable of securing it and thus found themselves in either a literal or figurative death. All three significant figures in de Beauvoir’s life story discovered the pitfalls of life when the embryo of transcendence goes unnourished and is left to fall into imminence, a project-less life sustained only for the benefit of others. Simone, however, is able to push past the areas in which these people failed and soar towards a life where she would become a world-renowned author, philosopher, scholar, and feminist. She would go on to defy the barriers her bourgeois life set for her and choose the life she wanted to live, not for others, but for her own independent and free self. Transcendence and immanence might have been existential terms de Beauvoir and other philosophers burgeoned for over other philosophical theories, but what de Beauvoir’s own life story shows is that these principles are not simply restricted to theories. Their meanings and attributes can be applied to real people both back in de Beauvoir’s day and to people today like myself and my family. In the end, regardless of where a person begins their life or what promise they might have in certain areas, true access to freedom and happiness comes from an acceptance of one’s own responsibility for their choices and whether or not one wishes to push past the comfortability of society to find real, personal fulfillment.

Works Cited

Beauvais, Clémentine. “Simone de Beauvoir and the Ambiguity of Childhood.” Paragraph, Vol. 38, no. 3, 2015, pp. 329-346. Accessed 11 Oct. 2022.

This article by Beauvais is dedicated to detailing de Beauvoir’s opinions and work on Childhood Development. In conjunction with development, Beauvais also takes a look into how de Beauvoir’s existential beliefs play a role in this. In my paper, while I don’t address the topic of child development, the concept of the existential child plays directly into what I discuss in terms of Jacques, Zaza, and de Beauvoirs growth from childhood to adulthood and what they are respectively able to accomplish during this time.

Bergoffen, Debra, and Megan Burke. “Simone De Beauvoir.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, 27 Mar. 2020, Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

Bergoffen’s article takes a more biographical look at the life and work of Beauvoir. She argues for Beauvoir’s status in the realm of philosophy, feminism, and general academics. The article is bold to assume of beliefs or feelings Beauvoir might have held in the subject of her writings, but the comments and analysis made on certain points are worthy of consideration. The article takes a look at Beauvoir’s various works and theories and uses them to argue for her status as a philosopher. While this is not a main topic of my article, its commentary on the Second Sex and the role of happiness in a subjugated woman’s life is help to the exploration of Francoise captivity in motherhood. It’s explanation of A Very Easy Death and “I can” attitudes towards the capabilities of the body were also helpful in the thinking of my own arguments.

Beauvoir, Simone de. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter. Paris, Gallimard, 1958.

—. A Very Easy Death. Paris, Gallimard, 1964.

Beauvoir, Simone de, et al. “Two Interviews with Simone de Beauvoir.” Hypatia, vol. 3, no. 3, 1989, pp. 11–27. JSTOR, Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

Margaret Simons interviews Simone Beauvoir in this consolidated article on a number of different issues. Simons asks her about the issues of the English translation of her work the Second Sex, her philosophical connections to Sartre, her opinions on feminism, individualism, social conditioning, and other matters. The most important of these sections to my own worked revolved around her commentary on motherhood and individualism. While there are many great resources analyzing Beauvoir’s theories and comments on these subjects, I thought it would be most beneficial to see Beauvoir’s on feelings on the topic in conjunction with my own analysis.

Crowell, Steven. “Existentialism.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, Jun. 9, 2020,  Accessed 11 Oct. 2022.

Crowell expertly explains the beginnings of Existentialism and the various theories and terms held within it. This article provides definitions of many terms used within this paper such as transcendence, projects, and immanence. These definitions and the further development of the terms within the article provided me with a firm foundation on which I could develop my thesis and arguments surrounding Existentialism. Aside from definitions, the article also provided metaphorical examples of the terms that assisted in my understanding as well. The article also discussed the history of Existentialism and its founders. The descriptions of what various philosophers contributed to Existentialism, including those of Jean Sartre, afforded me with additional information on people who would have been de Beauvoir’s peers and influences.

Fell, Alison. Liberty, Equality, Maternity in Beauvoir, Leduc and Ernaux. Routledge, Oct. 1, 2002.

This portion from Fell’s book granted me great access to critical analysis on the battle between mothers and daughters within de Beauvoir’s works. Her writing explores the connections between immanence and transcendence and specifically their connections to mothers and daughters. Fell examines de Beauvoir’s work to determine her beliefs on motherhood, femineity, the woman’s role, and the transcendence of de Beauvoir. In my own paper, Fell’s work was useful in providing secondary arguments about the primary texts that I could expand upon in my own writings. Her examination of other texts by de Beauvoir and what they say about her ideas on various matters also assisted my own understanding of de Beauvoir’s objectives with her works. They also afforded me a place to draw my own arguments from and reaffirm my points with the arguments of a scholar more tenured than I.