Nihility: a Glimpse Into a World of Amorality Based Off of Albert Camus’ the Stranger

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The Stranger Essay


A Glimpse Into a World of Amorality Based off of Albert Camus’ The Stranger

Fondly I remember the days of my childhood, riding horseback through the craggy trails of Powderhorn at twilight. I distinctly recall the cool mountain breezes that would gust as I rode. I remember how the leaves on the aspen trees would rustle and dance in the winds caress, gently swaying with a peaceful indifference. And I was happy. Yet, what reason did I have? What had I done, what had I achieved to be so content? Nothing. There was no reason, no logic that would allow for an analysis to exist in an attempt to contemplate the origin of my joy. And yet I was happy. It was there, in the tranquility of the mountain trails at sunset that I found happiness within my own spirit. Such contentment is also realized in Albert Camus’ award winning novel The Stranger, in which the protagonist, Meursault, is subjected to the arbitrary moral rule of society. Though he is eventually convicted of a capital crime by civilization’s superficial doctrine, it is in facing his own mortality that Meursault is able to see the world for what it is: devoid of all purpose and morality. Such is the position that I will argue, drawing evidence from The Stranger to support this notion of a universe devoid of all meaning.

Though this nihilistic view is an underlying theme throughout the book, it is only within the very last pages of the novel that Meursault fully understands it himself, as shown from this quote on page 121,

I had been right, I was still right, I was always right. I had lived my life one way and I could just as well have lived it another. I had done this and I hadn’t done that. And I hadn’t done this thing but I had done another. And so? It was as if I had waited all these time for this moment and for the first light of this dawn to be vindicated. Nothing, nothing mattered, and I knew why.

Here we can see Meursault coming to terms with what it...
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