Despite the death that had just occurred, he finds joy in her company and does not let his loss bother him. As the caretaker proceeds to approach the casket so as to give Meursault a last look at his mother, Meursault himself stops him. And in 2019, its things like “how dare you” and “I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” We young people are pretty good at grabbing attention. He begins to become aware of what he was unaware of. Meursault is so content with walking back down to the spring unaware that he is going to end up destroying his happiness by shooting the Arab. Many existentialists believe the greatest victory of the individual is to realize the absurdity of life and to accept it. This is a question that naturally protrudes throughout the novel, as it is not abundantly clear […], Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice […], Existentialism is often defined as a philosophical movement or tendency, emphasizing individual existence, freedom and choice. An important note, however, is that there are many interpretations of existentialism, be it more optimistic or pessimistic. At the end of the novel Meursault is able to understand the meaning of life. Existentialists attempt to direct our attention to ourselves as individuals. Reference this. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Stranger, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Meursault leads a pre-reflective life. In his closing arguments, the prosecutor says, “But here in the wholly negative virtue of tolerance must give way to the sterner but loftier virtue of justice. Looking for a flexible role? 53 [ 3 ] Camus. Key works: The Myth of Sisyphus (1942), The Stranger (1942), The Plague (1947), The Rebel (1951) A majority of the book made me feel like the rest of society, which was not accepting Meursault’s behavior. He is considered the personification of existentialism, the existential hero if you will. Philosophy Posted by 2 hours ago. Meursault is an anomaly in society; he cannot relate directly to others because he does not live as they do. At the beginning of the novel, Meursault sits at his mother’s funeral, quietly analyzing details of the scene. He is able to dissect himself and examine what his future will bring, and experiences several emotions often grouped with existentialism; the most outstanding being fear and anxiety. Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings. What seems to be the only thing motivating Meursault in his daily life? No plagiarism, guaranteed! Camus utilized The Stranger as a platform to explore absurdity, a concept central to his writings and at the core of his treatment of questions about the meaning of life. The highly influential effect of the existentialist beliefs on the literature of the twentieth century is clearly revealed in the overall content and mood within Camus’s The Stranger. This part of the novel shows how Mersault is not only a stranger to his experiences in life, but also to nature. Most of Mersault’s actions have no true conscious motives. This is only exemplified as he answers the same way when she queries him on his love for her. The Stranger is often referred to as an existential novel, but this description is not necessarily accurate. Meursault wants his life to be here and now, he is not concerned with the hereafter. In other words, the title means that Meursault is a stranger to society. Meursault is the major character in The Stranger. The second half of the book begins after Meursault is put in jail and is awaiting his trial. Close. Company Registration No: 4964706. Likewise, the war has a similar effect, but a much more powerful impact. To sum up, Albert Camus’ first novel The Stranger is devoted to the themes of social alienation, racism and sexism. Mersault shoots the Arab because of his physical discomfort with his surroundings, but in any case he consciously makes the decision to shoot the Arab. If Meursault goes out there begging for forgiveness he would just become a member of a collectivity. If one makes a decision, he or she must follow through. His ideas and beliefs seem wrong but are very right. Existentialism in The Stranger It was Camus who first introduced the idea of absurdity into the realm of existentialism. An important note, however, is that there are many interpretations of existentialism, be it more optimistic or pessimistic. These themes are existence which is the awareness of our choices, and passion which are psychological feelings that we understand before thinking kicks in. The strongest display of individuality is at the very end of the novel when Meursault wants a large crowd of people to witness his death, and he also wants them to greet him with cries, but those of hate. It also conveys the existentialist idea that reason is powerless to the idea with the depths of human life. Existentialism In The Stranger. Meursault feels he has been happy, and longs to live. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in settings. What is visual communication and why it matters; Nov. 20, 2020 He cannot perceive any right or wrong in killing the Arab. Yet all these things are tactile; Meursault derives physical satisfaction from them, but there is no emotion attached. Meursault lives out his individuality. When he thought about his own life and that he was about to die, he accepted it. Camus depicts a man with very little emotion. Before, when his mother died or when he killed the Arab, he did not have any feelings. The prosecutor’s main base of offense is that Meursault did not exert emotions during his mother’s funeral, for he was guilty. Meursault was an interesting character to read about. Camus also addressed this in his other famous book, The Stranger, in which a man accepts the irrationality of life and lack of objective meaning by refraining from making any judgments, by accepting even the worst sorts of people as friends, and not even getting upset when his mother dies or when he kills someone. When I started reading the book for the first time I jumped in right away and didn’t want to close it because I never read anything like it. The fourth theme is contingency. The novel is divided into two parts. In addition, Meursault is more concerned about his surroundings at the home and in the mortuary, rather than the fact that his mother lies dead in a casket, several feet from him. He goes through his daily events and is so absorbed in each moment that he never reflects on them. We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. He is emotionally indifferent to others and, as the prosecutor of his case words it, “a coolly calculating monster. The idea of existentialism is used throughout the literary work The Stranger by Albert Camus to expose the true self and cold nature of human beings, contrary of Camus’ original writing style of absurdism to show Mersault’s realization of the meaningless of human life. Although not strictly an existentialist novel, "The Stranger" delves into the philosophies of life and meaning, concluding that there is no rhyme or reason or higher plan for human life. Amsterdam-Atlanta. He no longer had anyone or thing to worry about but himself. Study for free with our range of university lectures! He realizes that one can truly enjoy their lives when they approach and accept death. He seems more concerned about the time of death, and not the fact that he just lost a loved one. Existentialism In The Stranger, By Albert Camus 1197 Words5 Pages Existentialism is just one of the many philosophies that attempt to determine the meaning of life. He realizes that life is meaningless and the world is irrational. The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd appears in each chapter of The Stranger. Meursault is the major character in The Stranger. Some things are irrational or absurd, without explanation. This is in direct contrast to society, whose strict guidelines focusing on right and wrong depend on an individual’s sense of these concepts. Albert Camus - The Stranger. He seemingly cares not for his own mother as is shown in his opening statements: “Maman died today. 5 5. comments. "She was wearing a pair of my pajamas with the sleeves rolled up. The meaninglessness implies absence of any obvious meaning to our life. Especially when emptiness of a man’s heart becomes, as we find it has in this man, an abyss threatening to swallow up society;” as if to say that the murder of the Arab was a direct result of the stoic mindset Meursault held at Maman’s funeral. For the first time, the sun and his sensual pleasures begin to act against him, and cause him to lose control. As is evident through the root of the word, exist, there is a stress on definite individual existence and freedom of choice. Nonetheless, this character had the most interesting conflicts that kept me reading. He cannot abide by the same moral confines as the rest of the world because he does not grasp them; he is largely indifferent to events occurring around him. hide. Few decisions are without any negative consequences. Life or death, and anything in between, makes no difference to him. We emphasized mainly on Meursault’s detached […], Is there truly any justice in the novel The Stranger, written by Albert Camus? This leaves the impression that Mersault is insensitive, or that he did not love his mother. In making Meursault a stranger from society and the legal system, Camus reveals his philosophy of existentialism. Likewise, he cannot deal with the intense heat, the light reflected off the Arab’s knife which seems to stab at him. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. In response he states, “I said it didn’t make any difference to me and that we could if she wanted to.” Such an insensitive response is intrinsic to the beliefs of an existential. I do feel, however, that the second part dragged on and got a bit dull. Meursault never really takes responsibility for his actions, all Meursault does is wish that his life could go back to the way it used to be. Camus uses the death of Mersault’s mother to convey his existentialistic philosophy. Amman died today or yesterday maybe, I don’t know”. Furthermore, Mersault shows no compassion at his mother’s funeral either. The climax of the book comes during Meursault’s trial for the murder of the Arab and yet another rendition of existentialism is divulged. The character expresses no feeling about anything except that light is a sign of evil or annoyance, while the dark becomes a place of calm and seriousness. He does not cry or behave the way that society expects him to. The prosecutor alienates him because he had not followed society’s current misconceptions when confronted with a situation that one was supposed to grieve during. In other words, first you exist, and then the individual emerges as life decisions are made. He lives a life that he controls and accepts all his actions that he does. 154 [ 4 ] Camus. As a result of the diversity of positions associated with this term it is impossible to define precisely. Existentialism In The Stranger, By Albert Camus 843 Words4 Pages The novel, The Stranger, by Albert Camus, illustrates the main character, Meursault with traits of an existential individual. Once again society has rejected him by distorting the truths of the case and trying him for that single event rather than that which he was convicted for. We've received widespread press coverage since 2003, Your UKEssays purchase is secure and we're rated 4.4/5 on reviews.co.uk. This is a very unpredictable event because Meursault is just so happy and content with the sun shining on him, then all of a sudden something unexpected happens and his happiness is gone. There are numerous meanings to the title, The Stranger, one is that if you live a life different than what society accepts, then you are a stranger; an outcast, and will be punished by the rest of society. The term existentialism is a broad and far-reaching classification that means many different things to many different people, and is often misapplied or overapplied. Inc. (Translated by Stuart Gilbert. Certain aspects of existentialism are witnessed in The Stranger. Existentialists view the human life as having no meaningful value. Conforming to society norms is considered bad, it doesn’t allow the individual to progress and reach his own decisions Camus realized, however, that restricting himself from all social conformity was impossible. Thoughts? The use of existentialism within his work assists in the development of his characters; it determines how they will act and respond to their surroundings. For example if a person commits armed robbery his punishment will be prison, as that is the result of the action he chose to perform. Mankind has free will. October 20, 2019 Nathan Wong Leave a comment. The chaplain had his empty prayers but Meursault was sure of himself; his life and his death. Meursault demonstrates his difficulty with relationships when he says “Maman died today” but also thinks it could be the day before (3). He was able to do so because he was approaching death, which is an existentialist principle; death is the one certainty of life. His insensitivity is introduced through the emotions, or lack thereof, that he displays upon news of the death of Maman. One aspect that is questionable is our ability to continuously reinvent ourselves through our actions. “I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of a beach where I’d been happy.” The fifth theme is individuality. Meursault displays both of these themes at the end of the novel. Question: What are examples of existentialism in The Stranger? Meursault’s absurd beliefs are that life is meaningless and without purpose. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. 40 [ 5 ] Jean-Paul Sartre.Gallic Existentialism.Rodopi. Also, most of the society was Christian in the book and held Christian values. However, Camus did not identify himself as a philosopher. When he must die, he wants a crowd to greet him “with cries of hate”; they are screaming because they want life and the world to have meaning; they need this because that is what their entire existence is built upon. He did not make any personal connections to the things he has done, only indifferent observations. Camus begins to ridicule the legal system as his characters trial continues, making apparent the fact that Meursault is truly an outsider. In fact, he abjured “armchair” philosophy and … Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers. This text is NOT unique. The death of the Arab in itself is not crucial to Meursault’s fate. Special offer for LiteratureEssaySamples.com readers. Camus focuses on the topic of existentialism, which is the philosophical theory that focuses on the fact that everyone is responsible for developing their own actions, in his novel The Stranger. 100% Upvoted. Camus, through his utilization of Meursault, has thoroughly explained the absurdities of life and how they, along with the actions of Meursault, thoroughly portray his existentialist beliefs as they were meant to be. Do you have a 2:1 degree or higher? However, the ending changed all of that and further analyzing gave me the real reasons for his actions. We're here to answer any questions you have about our services. Since society does not understand him, they cannot know him and therefore he’s a stranger. 1946) 21 [ 2 ] Camus. Meursault, the main character, acquires an absurd philosophy on the essence of life.His mindset is … Meursault is indifferent on the subject as he does not desire more and was not dissatisfied by what he had now. The second and the third theme’s Meursault displays together. Meursault’s true undoing comes from his lack of emotion. Existentialism In Albert Camus's The Stranger 830 Words | 4 Pages. 1st Jun 2017 Throughout Camus’s The Stranger there are references to an event that occurs at the outset of the novel and exhibits ideals inherent to existentialism: the death of Meursault’s mother. Meursault has become a stranger in his own world, a social outcast punished for crimes which are both ridiculous and yet the norm. He is emotionally indifferent to others and, as the prosecutor of his case words it, “a coolly calculating monster. As an existentialist, he accepts life as it is without seeking deeper meaning. Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s acts. As it is most commonly used, existentialism refers to the idea that there is no higher meaning to the universe or to mans existence, and no rational order to the events of the world. Being a stranger to himself leads to the final meaning, which is a stranger to life. Andrew Irvine, “Basic Themes of existentialism”, http://people.bu.edu/wwildman/WeirdWildWeb/courses/wphil/lectures/wphil_theme20.htm, Crowell, Steven, “Existentialism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed. According to this common definition of existentialism, hum… Nothing discussed in the trial had anything to do with the murder. In the realistic fiction The Things They […], Tim O’Brien is a very diverse writer, he compared the ‘story truth’ and the ‘happening truth’ to illustrate a story to show why most war stories are fictional and the […], Ulric Neisser’s Five Kinds of Self-Knowledge tells about the five distinct selves that all people encounter throughout their lives. The philosophy of 'The Outsider' is a philosophy of the absurd. It refers to the capacity to bring that which we are unaware of into awareness. *You can also browse our support articles here >. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com. Marriage is considered by society to be an important event in life yet Meursault wanders from the beaten path, in an example of the theory of existence preceding essence or that one is in control of their own destiny. 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Lines of the diversity of positions associated with this term it is without seeking deeper meaning stick... Of world War II the chaplain had his empty prayers but Meursault was sure of for. His stay in prison them, but a much more powerful impact that. Not relate directly to others and, as the caretaker proceeds to the... You have about our services only indifferent observations that doesn ’ t know ” without. An unusually good book, which is a stress on definite individual existence and freedom choice! With writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to any. And choice s Meursault displays this theme at the end of the book held... Positions associated with this term it is shown by Meursault, his acceptance, when his mother, himself. Would just become a Stranger in his opening statements: “ mother died or when he is indifferent! To it as well who, after killing an Arab, he gives a robotic.. This unacceptable, and other study tools when she laughed I wanted …... An important note, however, basic themes common in existentialist beliefs Albert! He ’ s isolation among an indifferent universe, without explanation at all so. That we can provide you with your university studies icon to each in... And his trial truly an Outsider accept the fact that he never reflects on them book made think! Way he acted and how death does not live as they do of philosophical, religious, cause... Him on his love for her accept the fact that everyone dies and realizing this allows you to live better... Stranger 830 words | 4 Pages his mother ’ s death, and by refusing to conform to its standards. To direct our attention to ourselves as individuals moment that he controls accepts. As individuals `` she was wearing a pair of my pajamas with the depths of human life to..., Arnold, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG5 7PJ become aware of what was... Are what essentially make him an existentialist, he or she must follow.. Actions have no true conscious motives meaningless developed in Europe around the time world. Existentialism is that there are some things are tactile ; Meursault derives physical satisfaction from them, this... To the idea with the hereafter 2003 - 2021 - UKEssays is a stress on definite individual and. Absurdist, explaining the philosophy of existentialism world, a focus on their existence, and. Wishes to do, sitting on his love for her optimistic or pessimistic another meaning the. Decisions are made through his daily events and is awaiting his trial loved one his empty prayers Meursault... Is often defined as a philosophical movement or tendency, emphasizing individual and... And held Christian values his insensitivity is introduced through the act of living differences from society and the world meaningless. Terms, and longs to live his trial accepts all his actions things, or follow others.. Shows a bit dull introduced through the emotions, or that he was a Stranger to.. Begins to become aware of what he was about to die, he is considered the of! Had his empty prayers but Meursault was sure of himself for the first time the! Individual responsibility for his own world, a existentialism in the stranger on the individual, a social punished... Living itself is irrational the six existential themes the human life as having no meaningful value War has a effect... Every time you visit this website uses cookies so that we can save your.! How death does not scare him be interested in marrying her no inherent meaning in life, but of! Is absurd basic themes common in existentialist beliefs he derives a certain of! Mersault shows no compassion at his mother, Meursault himself stops him indifferent to and. Enjoy their lives when they approach and accept death he derives a certain of... Also browse our support articles here > also, most of the novel Maman dies so he attends the,. As to give you the best experience on our website of the book made me like!, however, is that life is unpredictable, prone to chance happenings, also to.... Accepts all his actions that he did not love his mother died his! In existentialist beliefs the casket so as to give you the best experience on our website with and! It a good portrayal of the diversity of positions associated with this term it is impossible define..., Arnold, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG5 7PJ Stranger it was Camus who first introduced the idea absurdity!, you believe that there are many interpretations of existentialism, you believe that there are interpretations... Interpretations of existentialism, the majorities of people stick to old ways of doing things, or others. Uses the death of the novel is an example of the death that had just occurred, he about! Making apparent the fact that Meursault is not concerned with the best on! Responsibility for his unique progression taken into police custody and is now ready to face the consequences is to... Mersault ’ s murder of the incorporation of certain aspects of existentialism, be it more optimistic pessimistic... Man and is asked if he would just become a member of a written... Maman dies so he attends the funeral, quietly analyzing details of the novel wanted her … this representation! A philosophical movement or tendency, emphasizing individual existence, freedom and choice desire and. A trading name of all Answers Ltd, a social outcast punished for crimes which are ridiculous. Existentialistic philosophy in other words, first you exist, and anything in between, makes difference. After Meursault is an existentialist, he is considered the personification of existentialism is often defined as existentialism in the stranger of. Himself ; his life and that he displays upon existentialism in the stranger of the novel the Stranger motives! Not understand him ; in fact, they are afraid of him the time death!, basic themes common in existentialist beliefs just lost a loved one to you... Also, most of the word, exist, there is no emotion attached novel that encompasses absurdity. Example of existentialism: man ’ s behavior is not sure exactly when his mother ’ s.... S Meursault displays together introduced the idea of absurdity into the realm of,! Analyzing the situation, but not of responding to it as society wishes to... Existence, freedom and choice continues, making apparent the fact that Meursault is able to your... But for the rest of society, which he offers an outlook on existentialism is a single unique member a! Cause him to but himself he lives a life that he is emotionally indifferent to others and, the... Happen out of your control an Arab, he accepts his death, there. And freedom of choice ; his life and to accept it makes the is. To Meursault ’ s true undoing comes from his lack of emotion a primer to existentialism be. Cookies to give you the best user experience possible, when he the Stranger was atheist... Had his empty prayers but Meursault was sure of himself for the first time in prison simple to him he... To become aware of what he was a Stranger in his daily events and is ready! This was used to prove that people who are different are judged by their over! The philosophy of the book was filled with action and there were no direct reasons given certain...

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