Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Committee Chair

Cynthia Coe

Second Committee Member

Nathalie Kasselis


Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the most influential philosophers of eighteenth-century Europe. In 1762 Rousseau published his treatise on education titled Emile. In Emile, Rousseau argues that people require an education that returns them to themselves. He demonstrates how he could take on an ordinary boy (Emile) as his pupil and experiment with the possibility of raising him into an autonomous adult, both morally and intellectually. In 1963, Julio Cortázar published Hopscotch in its original Spanish title Rayuela. Cortázar wrote Hopscotch in a way that allows the reader to decide what role, if any, the last ninety-eight chapter sections have in the reading. Many of these sections seem irrelevant to the underlying story. Both Rousseau and Cortázar emphasize the importance of autonomy and curiosity in what deals with one's education. In this research, I analyze ways that Rousseau creates an environment in which Emile feels he must rely on his own abilities, and how Emile depends on his autonomy and curiosity to solve problems. At the same time, I demonstrate how Cortázar puts in practice many of the same techniques to encourage his readers to acknowledge their autonomy and curiosity in their reading of Hopscotch. Although Rousseau and Cortázar raise important ideas about individual autonomy, they reveal the counterintuitive nature of well-regulated freedom.