Albert Camus and Herman Hesse – Comparing Both “the Outsider” to “Siddhartha”

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Albert Camus and Herman Hesse – Comparing both “The Outsider” to “Siddhartha”

Both Albert Camus and Herman Hesse express their critical view on the world and society in “The Outsider” and “Siddhartha” respectively, using an appeal to absurdity and “the ridiculous” as a mainstream for their analytical commentaries. Therefore both pieces of literature share similarities where most of these can be found by close-reading the chapters "Among the people" and "Samsara", and comparing them to Camus. This can be done by contrasting various explicitly evident themes like reference to absurdist aspects, reference to surrealism and a metaphysical divine world and the analysis of characters and how they react towards other characters.

In Albert Camus’ “The Outsider”, Mersault, the protagonist, lives off physical and momentary pleasures and sensations. It is very clear that all he looks for in his life is “observing Marie’s breasts” and smoking Cigarettes or even eating daily at his ordinary restaurant. Throughout the book, Mersault shows no clear evidence of holding ambitions or desire to have a wealthy life with riches and sophistication. This is most evident when he despises his raise opportunity and declaring, “...I wasn’t interested in changing my life. I replied that you could never change your life, that in one case, one life was as good as another and that I wasn’t all dissatisfied with mine here…” This again shows how Mersault doesn’t care about living a life of materialist possessions and desiring one more of abstract possessions. Similarly, “Siddhartha” wants ands live off absolutely nothing. This is strictly obvious once Siddhartha says, “…I posses nothing…if that is what you mean. I am certainly without possessions, but of my own free will, so I am not needed…” These aspects where both protagonists live off abstract things, sensations and reflection appeal to absurdity and make the characters look ridiculous. This is because it greatly juxtaposes with the...
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