Study Guide

A Season in Hell Science

By Arthur Rimbaud

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You would think a guy who's got it in for Christianity would be more of a science nut, right? After all, faith and reason are often put on opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum. That's not what's going on in "A Season in Hell," though. Our speaker hates religion and science pretty equally—much like he hates nearly everything in life, it seems. So what's his beef? Did he have a nasty Bunsen burner accident in Chemistry class that he just can't get over? Not exactly—science for him is just another convention of thought, and he's after a more individualized way to experience the world. Call it spirituality, deeper knowing, or just plain contrarian-ness, for our speaker, there's something else out there—beyond science. Somebody get the X-Files on the line.

Questions About Science

  1. What are the speaker's critiques of science? How convincing are they, in your view?
  2. How does the speaker distinguish science from religion in the poem?
  3. What about spirituality is superior to science, in the speaker's view?
  4. In line 264, why does science move so slowly for our speaker?

Chew on This

For this speaker, science is just another social convention to buy into—and he's not having it.

The speaker's inability to think systematically is behind his rejection of science.

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