Absurdity In The Stranger Essay

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Essay about Absurdism in The Stranger by Albert Camus

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The Stranger by Albert Camus focuses largely on the concept of absurdism. Camus uses family and personal relationships, or the lack of it thereof, to show the isolation that the main character, Meursault, undergoes in the novel and it’s effect on him overall. Camus utilizes the protagonists’ character development as a tool to further his plot of the novel. The absence of family and personal relationships tied in with the particular recurring topics of the novel are crucial in both the development of the protagonists’ characters as well as the plot as it affects the portrayal of the main character. Towards the beginning, Camus introduces the absence of family, thereby beginning the character development of the protagonists in their…show more content…

The Stranger by Albert Camus focuses largely on the concept of absurdism. Camus uses family and personal relationships, or the lack of it thereof, to show the isolation that the main character, Meursault, undergoes in the novel and it’s effect on him overall. Camus utilizes the protagonists’ character development as a tool to further his plot of the novel. The absence of family and personal relationships tied in with the particular recurring topics of the novel are crucial in both the development of the protagonists’ characters as well as the plot as it affects the portrayal of the main character. Towards the beginning, Camus introduces the absence of family, thereby beginning the character development of the protagonists in their respective novels. In The Stranger, Camus begins the novel with “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know” (Camus 3). This is the first instance that the reader is being introduced to Meursault, the main character of the novel. The reader learns that Maman, Meursault’s mother, is the only family member that Meursault has in the entire novel. Furthermore, Camus uses Meursault’s response to this tragedy not only to get the reader a first glimpse of the protagonist, but as a way to introduce the topic of absurdism that the novel is building up towards. As the funeral proceedings continue, Meursault feels like smoking, but is first hesitant in doing so because he “didn’t know if [he] could do it with Maman right there” (Camus 8). However,

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Absurdity: An Essay On The Stranger

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An Essay on…
The Stranger; The Absurd


"One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all
And in the Darkness bind them"
(Lord of the Rings Volume II, The Council of Elrond)

     Within the Stranger, Albert Camus brought up many questions and a few answers. He created an outsider to society and showed us how he lived, Meursault.
     Meursault was always indifferent. Meursault accepted death. Why? Meursault saw the purpose of life meaningless. That is “Absurdity”! Absurdity, how does that word sound? Pretty bad, eh? Absurdity when used like “that’s absurd!” gives the feeling of negative judgment and a sense of finality. The idea of the Absurd seems to attach itself with meaningless, pointless and other such words that express a destination but without the means to get there and vice versa means but no destination. So from there I inferred that Camus does not believe in God nor any high law or universal law that are associated with a divinity, which is a path in life (either the means or the destination). So what is Absurd? The Absurd is living, a quest to find the meaning of anything within a reality with no purpose. Reality has no purpose because there is no high law, a universal law nor a God. Therefore this reality must be randomness. I believe that Camus wants us to see this and begin questioning our existence. So he wants he wants us to see the Absurdity and to cope with the Absurdity.
     If there is no point to living why do we continue to live? If this reality is absurd why don’t we recognize that and commit suicide? Taking one’s life shows the lack of will or reasons to live and also the needlessness of suffering. So what is living? Living is the Absurd. Living is hopelessness. Living is keeping the absurd alive. To keep the absurd alive you only have to live the absurd. 'Life will be more fully lived in so far as it has no meaning.' is a quote from Camus that shows this. Camus shows that you can “hope” for the best without hope. “Hope” is not the same as hope. “Hope” is optimism. Freedom from hope is freedom to your soul. You can no longer hurt yourself by living. It is hard to believe that being hopeless leads to living but living is an imprisonment. We try to be the best we can be but does not life limit us?

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Now there are two types of living… Living the absurd (or outside society) or living death. Passions and hopes keep us in a box. Society may call this box life or the right way but the box still confines. How do passions and hopes keep us in a box? These emotions limit us from going from the beginning (birth) to a true end (a true death you can say). Dying is not true death. Everybody dies but not everybody experiences true death. True death is an escape from this reality. Meditating is one way. If you truly achieve meditation, time is still and you are calm. There is nothing but you. If you live a life like that, that is true death.
     We talked about the essence and the existentialism point of view. I would like to explain why I said that Meursault is not an existentialist. Meursault is an Absurd man. There are no passions for him. Hopes and dreams are nothing to him. He sees the Absurdity of life. Does that mean he has to die? No, the Absurd does not need for you to die. The readiness at the end to die marks where he is no longer an Absurd man. He hopes to die and he “hopes” that there are many people there. He sees the truth of the Absurd but no longer practices it. All his needs derives from the fact that life is pointless.



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