The Stranger By Albert Camus: A Literary Analysis

3154 Words13 Pages
Existentialism is the philosophical notion which highlights the existence of a person as free and responsible. Their actions are their own and will be the determinant in what course their life will take. Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger has been considered an existentialist novel, however, Camus would argue that his novel is in fact an absurdist novel and not an existentialist novel. His belief was that “the radical confrontation with the absurd was an absolute necessity in the 20th century, but only as a first step toward a fuller version of human meaning and value.” An absurdist novel focuses on characters who believe there is no purpose to life, and the experiences they go through can seem unrelated and random. This paper will cover instances within Camus’ novel which support the absurdist point of view as well as Victor Brombert’s article…show more content…
Mersault is emotionless for the most part, and goes about life nonchalantly. His experiences do not faze him and he reacts in an analytical, concrete fashion when something disastrous occurs, such as when his mother passes away at the beginning of the novel as well as when he shoots the Arab on the beach. Mersault also does not understand how his shooting of the Arab was a crime, he blames it entirely on circumstance. This is why The Stranger is an absurdist novel instead of an existentialist novel. With existentialism the actions of a person determine the course of their life, while with an absurdist life the person is beyond apathetic towards because he/she feels that there is no true purpose to life, therefore why waste time on something as menial as emotion. When the novel begins Mersault has just been told that his mother passed away in her home and so he must go for the vigil and burial, which is something he sees more as a burdensome occurrence rather than an event for
Open Document