The beginning of existentialism can be traced down to Kierkegaard who developed the conviction that through God and in God man may succeed in freeing himself from tension and discontent and may find peace of mind and spiritual serenity. According to him an individual is quite unique in nature and hence insisted that the highest good for the individual is to find his or her unique vocation. The individual is always becoming or making himself which is the result of his inner passion for freedom and it is a continuous effort. He finds himself enveloped by uncertainty but he decides to take risks. The individual’s choice and decisions are quite personal. Kierkegaard’s belief that one must choose ones way without the aid of the universal objective standards has been echoed by Desai in the portrayal of characters in Where Shall We Go This Summer? and Fire on the Mountain.
Kierkegaard associates anxiety with man’s peculiar constitution as body and soul, established in spirit. In the very way he is constituted, man is subject to tension and, this tension is despair, the “sickness unto death.” This despair can take any one of these forms: despair at not willing to be one self, a despair at not willing to be a self, despair at willing to be another than one self i.e., wishing for a new self.
Kierkegaard, the pioneer of modern Christian existentialism, could think only as a christian and according to him, existence means existing in the presence of God, the absolute other.