Existentialism In The Stranger

1684 Words 7 Pages
Existentialism is a focus on the individual, a focus on their existence, free will, and death. An important note, however, is that there are many interpretations of existentialism, be it more optimistic or pessimistic. The books The Metamorphosis by Kafka, The Stranger, by Camus, and Hunger by Steve McQueen all have similar ideas, with imprisonment, death, and a life crisis being major components of each story. As a result, they all have similar existential themes. Metamorphosis, The Stranger, Hunger all focus on grappling with alienation due a massive change in their lives, struggling with the void in relationship to each character’s imprisonment, and their eventual deaths and their feelings about it, but each novel takes different existentialist …show more content…
The void is nothingness, a place with no structure. In Hunger, the theme of the void comes from the cells themselves. Most of the prisoners in the movie are never seen, with the exception of the scene where they ignore the priest. In their cells, locked away, their roles are minimized, and their existence is hardly seen. They exist in the void of their cell, with only the wish to be considered a political prisoner. The idea of a cell being a void is also seen in The Stranger, when Meursault is locked in his cell. During his stay in prison, after he talks about the Czechoslovakian article, he realizes that he is trapped: “No, there was no way out, and no one can imagine what nights in prison are like”(81). Meursault feels like he is trapped in the void, and he realizes how alone he is- earlier in this chapter of the novel, he talks about the few things in his cell that his life had become in the cell, how he lost track of time. He is shocked when he finds out he spent 5 months in a cell, and he is in disbelief over the fact. The cell is his void that he is trapped in, his life turned into nothing more than a few items in his cell and a date in court later. He does get a bit of outside contact, like Bobby Sands and the rest of the prisoners do when they get to meet their families, but for the most part, they are alone. Gregor Samsa is no exception to this, either, as he too begins to lose sight of the outside. After Gregor had been in his room for a while, he looks outside to realize that he can see less and less: “For, in fact, from day to day he saw things even a short distance away less and less distinctly; the hospital opposite, which he used to curse because he saw so much of it, was now completely beyond his range of vision, and if he had not been positive that he was living in Charlotte Street- a quiet but still very much a city street- he might have believed

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