Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 5-10-2010

Major Department or Program



Walter E. Wyman


In this cross-disciplinary thesis, I use Paul Tillich’s theological concept, “absolute faith,” and Albert Camu’s philosophical notion of “the absurd” to uncover the Existential dimensions of the 1998 film The Thin Red Line, written and directed by Terrence Malick. The film explores the lives of several soldiers involved in the Battle of Guadalcanal, and I argue that Malick uses the context of World War II as a larger metaphor for the existential conflict that faces human beings. By employing the theology ot Tillich and the philosophy of Camus, I investigate the overarching existential themes of Malick’s film, and conclude that the The Thin Red Line provides its audience with a different perspective, and a subsequent vocabulary with which to navigate meaningfully the inherently tragic terms of human existence.

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Subject Headings

Existentialism, Motion pictures, Battle of Guadalcanal -- Solomon Islands (1942-1943), Theology -- Absolute faith, World War (1939-1945), War Films, Albert Camus (1913-1960), Paul Tillich (1886-1965), Thin red line (Motion picture : 1998), Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2010 -- Religion Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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