Albert Camus’s The Stranger: Living Without Purpose Essay

1447 Words 6 Pages
How does a person really live when they feel there is no meaning in life and that the thought of seeking any value is absurd? Albert Camus’s novel “The Stranger” focuses on Meursault, a man who lives for the yearnings of the present moment and completely free of any values. Moreover, “Meursault refuses to conform to a social code that, in his mind, demands an excess of false words” (Taylor). Rather than behave with the social standards, Meursault tries to live as honestly as he can, doing what he wants to do and befriending those whom he likes. He also refuses to give off feelings that he does not truly feel. Consequently, he does not force himself to cry at his mother’s funeral or to mourn her death too deeply. Shortly after Meursault’s …show more content…
There were only privileged people. The others would all be condemned one day. And he would be condemned, too” (Camus 121). Meursault is saying that ultimately everyone is equal and or “privileged” and one day they will be sentenced to death as well. He feels it does not matter whether he has done good or bad in this lifetime because it will soon lead to death. Meursault’s personal outlook on life and his actions make it hard for people to understand him. In Jean-Paul Sartre’s article “Camus’ The Outsider” he reveals different perceptions about Meursault: “ How were we to interpret this character who, the day after his mother’s death, “went swimming, started a liaison with a girl and went to see a comic film,” who killed an Arab “because of the sun,” … “He’s a poor fool, an idiot” (Sartre). Society should disagree with this statement. Meursault is not a fool, he just has nothing to live for and anyone whom would perceive life as having no meaning would act the way he does. Meursault thinks the thought of trying to inherent meaning or purpose in this world is absurd because there is none. Camus uses Meursault’s actions when his mother died to illustrate that life has no meaning or purpose. Meursault’s reaction toward his mother’s death in the beginning of the novel is indifferent: “Maman died today. Or Yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram

Related Documents