Existentialism And Absurdism In The Stranger, By Albert Camus

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In his novel The Stranger, Albert Camus creates an emotionally incapable, narcissistic, and, at times, sociopathic character named Meursault to explore and expose his philosophies of Existentialism and Absurdism. Throughout the story Meursault follows a philosophical arc that, while somewhat extreme - from unemotional and passive to detached and reckless to self-reflective - both criticizes the dependent nature of human existence and shows the journey through the absurd that is our world. In the onset of The Stranger, following his mother’s death, Meursault acts with close to utter indifference and detachment. While the rest of “maman’s”(9) loved ones express their overwhelming grief, Meursault remains unphased and, at times, annoyed at their …show more content…

Scanning through his past several years, he returns to his mother’s death and analyzes her choice to seek a lover at the end of her life. While before he thought it was strange and even somewhat aggravating, he realizes now, being so close to death, that people will enter a desperate search for meaning when their time left is fleeting. But at the same time, he reasons potentially as a coping mechanism, there is no difference whether he dies by execution later that day or in 40 years because he will be dying all the same. Together, these two realizations, though somewhat contradictory, create his bridge to Existentialism. By establishing these two points, he can allow himself to, “open up to the gentle indifference of the world - finding it so much like himself”(122), and apply whatever meaning he wants to life in order to make it as rich and enjoyable as desired, rather than drifting along as a pitiful being waiting for some greater power to guide him along. Essentially, though he still remains behind bars and is awaiting his execution, he is more free than ever before because he has allowed himself to be so. By choosing what he assigns meaning to, he manages to have complete control over an uncontrollable existence and if things don’t work out the way he hoped, then f**k it; he had no

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