Murphy as an Ant-Journey and Anti-Capitalism

The novel Murphy is an anti-journey. It is an anti-journey because the main character Murphy seeks to stop seeking. His Dublin life pressurized Murphy to seek. Since any act of seeking is anathema to Murphy, he simply left Dublin and began to dwell in London.

Samuel Beckett

Murphy's journey into London is an escape from seeking. The novel 'Murphy is anti-journey only so long as we interpreter his act of non-seeking as an absurd and a deviated course of activities. To live in the real world, any individual has to earn sufficient means of living. Those who want to live must seek the reasonable way of living. Those who want to live must initiate a journey of seeking. But our absurdist hero seeks in a different way. Our seedy solipsist seeks to live in a world which demands no seeking from individuals. Actually by leaving Dublin Murphy is living in the world which demands from individual rational search for certain specific goals.

Murphy does not like to succumb to the tempting protocols. The world wants to make Murphy live an active and busy life. But Murphy lives an absurd and idle life. He is seeking idleness, he is seeking, oblivion, he is seeking to immerse in the world of nothingness. Nothingness is what Murphy craves for. Non progression is the destiny and destination in Murphy's life. Idleness is his haven. Even if Murphy outwardly seems to have engaged in outer journey, it leads to futility and nothingness. That is why he is an absurdist hero who has embarked on an anti-journey. Once, more "Murphy" is anti-journey because its hero Murphy avoids journey to avoid the object of the journey.

Murphy is a subversive idealist. We know that Murphy is a reasonably healthy young man except for his occasional heart attack. Such a reasonably healthy man should not have lived an idle life. He came to London perhaps with a view to escape from Irish lustiness. Living in London he loved and was loved by Celia. To live a decent life in London they (both Murphy and Celia) were in need of money. Murphy's meager amount of money can't enable both him and Celia to live together. So Celia told Murphy to hunt for jobs. Celia frequently goaded (pushed) Murphy to pick any available job as early as possible. Celia threatened him to leave and return to her old profession if Murphy didn't catch a job. By doing so Celia was affirming her rhetoric of work Murphy had, on the other hand no intention to search for jobs. He preferred to live idle. Even if he came to the market to catch a job he was simply pretending to hunt for jobs. But actually he was simply squandering (wasting) time. By living idly, by disobeying Celia and by pretending - Murphy was hinting at his rhetoric of indolence. Here two contradictory rhetorics have arisen; Celia’s rhetoric of work and Murphy’s rhetoric of indolence.

By being idle and by living an idle life Murphy has been challenging the capitalist system's definition of man. Within the capitalistic society a man is defined by and praised for how much he can produce, what he produces and what sorts of employment he/she has taken. Manhood is defined in terms of his employment and his income. By living an idle life Murphy wants to show his new definition of a genuine manhood untouched and un-poisoned by capitalistic system. To counter the capitalistic society's need to get employed Murphy began to live an idle life. Hence Murphy's idle life is induced from his desire to subvert the rhetoric of work. Murphy is living a life with a minimal desire. He wants to consume fewer amounts. In a consumer society an individual is defined by his consumption pattern. How much you consume determines how much power you have. By eating less Murphy wants to be a misfit in consumer society. Consumer society has established a measuring rod of judging the self and manhood of an individual. Murphy's pattern of consumption is minimal and less. By reducing the consumption - pattern to a bottom-line, Murphy wants to subvert the strategy. The consumer society aims at restricting the liberal march and motion of manhood. Hence Murphy is a subversive hero, he is a subversive idealist because he does not believe in the actual notion of Manhood defined within the framework of capitalism.