Examples Of Absurdism In The Stranger By Albert Camus

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Albert Camus once stated that a novel “is never anything but a philosophy expressed in images” (Kellman). In his works, such as The Stranger, he envelops the ideal of absurdism, which the Columbia Dictionary of Modern Literary & Cultural Criticism states that, drawn upon from The Myth of Sisyphus, includes the idea that “in a world without God, human life and human suffering have no intrinsic meaning.” The philosophy stemmed from and closely resembles existentialism, which sees the predicament of existence as “beginning with a confrontation with a disconcerting sense of meaninglessness” (Abbs 11). Invoked with Camus’s absurdism, Meursault manifests an indifferent personality which repeatedly leads to his alienation from those his loved ones, …show more content…
Growing up in the Algiers district, Camus flashed early brilliance by winning a scholarship to the local high school. Camus began to chase intellectual ambitions, but at 17 contracted tuberculosis (“Camus” Merriam Webster). This was especially tough on him because he had to abandon sports, one his beloved hobbies. Believing that the spreading disease would kill him, Camus developed his absurdist mentality during this time, which for him meant “first of all the disparity between a young consciousness hungry for experience and crying out for meaning, and a body condemned to illness and ultimately death” (Brosman). Even with his illness, Camus enrolled in the University of Algiers, studying the ancient Greeks and Greece itself; the philosophy and Mediterranean perspective he learned drove him to examine life and death without self-deception (Brosman). Moving to Paris in 1942, Camus involved himself in the anti-German occupation movement. In fact, while writing The Stranger, which first appeared in 1942, Camus simultaneously wrote anti-Nazi propaganda for an underground newspaper (“Camus” Gale). Witnessing the War and Holocaust, Camus led the cause for absurdism, which further developed after the War due to anger and disappointment at the societal values that caused a great human cataclysm. Camus achieved his greatest success during the period after the War, and …show more content…
Aware of the standards of society, he depicts a man who refuses to accept them. Meursault, a “marginal innocent... lives unconsciously and initiates nothing” (Abbs 13). He cannot murder a man with a motive, because he has none. Additionally, although he commits murder, the trial focuses on Meursault’s character, and therefor indicts him as “a person outside the social system, without traditions of belief or inherited values (Abbs 14). Society blames him for his incoherence with their standards, not with the shameful crime he has committed. Meursault even seems to express this himself, complaining in prison about the “utter pointlessness of whatever [he] was doing there” (105). Evidently, Camus carefully structured the novel to point out the close-minded society that refuses to accept one who does not accept its

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