Existentialism In Meursault's The Stranger

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Existentialism is the study a philosophy of human existence and how choices lead to who they are and determines their moralities. In The Stranger, existentialist ideas were shown by the protagonist; Meursault questions human existence in society and its rational orders. He shows how choices can affect people in identity through the killing of an Arab, and his emotionless attitude towards his mother’s death, and the change in identity at the end. However, Meursault has to take the responsibilities of what was done even though he’s free from his choices but cannot escape the fact that society has its orders. Although the philosophy of existentialism affect us in identities, our choices matter the most in determining who we are in society. The …show more content…
In The Stranger, Meursault 's way of living shows the theme of absurdity to the human existence. At the beginning of the novel, Meursault 's attitude toward his mother’s death was astonishing because he expressed indifference for his mother, “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: ‘Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.’ That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday” (3). In his words, he seemed to care more about the time of death instead of the fact that he lost his mother. When he says "I don 't know", it implies that he is unsure about how he feels and the lack of attention he has for his mother. This also infer that he’s struggling to feel and wanting to have more emotions for people around him like his mother. Furthermore, he shocked the …show more content…
When Meursault decided to help Raymond get revenge on the Arabs, his decision to take the gun and killed the Arab and how he handled the situation after fully addresses the existentialist ideas. He wasn’t threatened by the Arab but because of the heat and tension, “[he felt that] every nerve in my body was a steel spring….The trigger gave….But I fired four shots more into the inert body”(39). Meursault didn’t consider the consequences of killing an Arab because he thinks that existence is absurd, therefore the death of the Arab doesn’t make a difference to the world. This reflects the existentialist that every man is responsible for his actions, Meursault needs to feel responsible for his actions of killing another man. Additionally, after he shot the Arab, Meursault gave four more shots to the Arab, this action was not necessary. But he did it anyways because he find it interesting since death is inevitable so shooting four more shots doesn’t matter that much and it serves as a way to fulfill his desires. Also, when he said “every nerve in my body was a steel spring…” he wants to get the killing over with because all that annoyance and awkwardness are making Meursault furious and wanting to kill the Arab. He cared less about the consequences followed by that since he looks beyond life and death and reached existentialism in a way that he thinks death is nothing and

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