Absurdity And Existentialism In Albert Camus's The Stranger

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Albert Camus was a French-Algerian author and philosopher whose work was very prevalent in the mid-twentieth century. Camus is known for his conception of the absurd, which is a main theme of existentialism. Camus’ famous novel, The Stranger, is a novel that reflects the idea of the absurd. And the novel’s protagonist, Meursault, is Camus’ existentialist character that personifies this idea. The renowned author of The Stranger, Albert Camus, was born in Mondovi, Algeria on November 7th, 1913. Camus was the son of Lucien Auguste Camus and Catherine Hélènes Sintès. Camus’ father, Lucien, worked as a cellarman at Saint-Paul farm outside of Mondovi, but was later drafted into the French army after the declaration of war by Germany in August of…show more content…
The themes are: philosophy as a way of life, anxiety and authenticity, freedom, situatedness, existence, the crowd, and absurdity. However, the main theme needed in this analysis of The Stranger is the theme of absurdity. In the novel, absurdity is best represented as indifference, separation, and irrationality. This theme is prevalent in every notable event in the novel. The novel’s protagonist, Meursault, is the character who exemplifies this theme throughout a series of events that eventually lead to a self-realization of his absurdist…show more content…
The opening lines of The Stranger are “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know” (Camus 3). These short sentences are enough to display that Meursault’s mother’s death holds no real significance in his eyes. The absurd Meursault realizes that death just happens to end a meaningless life, and that, quite simply, it just happens. Thus, in the opening lines, Meursault is “not presented as a son mourning for his mum” (Shobeiri), which is pivotal in understanding Meursault’s role as an absurd man. Before and during the vigil, “Meursault’s senselessness and indifference to everything except physical sensations are noticeable” (Shobeiri). Before the vigil, Meursault desires a cigarette, but hesitates because he is unsure as to whether he should do it in front of his dead mother or not. He decides to have the smoke after saying “it didn’t matter” (Camus 8). Meursault’s slight desire to have a smoke was more important to him than showing respect for his recently deceased mother. This reinforces how unimportant death is to Meursault. Moreover, during the vigil, Meursault is overwhelmed with exhaustion and falls asleep, which the elderly folks that are present find disrespectful. However, Meursault is completely indifferent to how other people perceive him. Also, the caretaker of the elderly home in Marengo makes “blunt comments about how
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