The Irrational Absurdity of Death and Existence in Camus's the Stranger

Topics: Existentialism, Meaning of life, Absurdism Pages: 4 (1300 words) Published: February 20, 2012
In his novel The Stranger, Albert Camus expresses his philosophy of the absurd: The irrationality of the universe, the meaninglessness of human life, the “importance” of the physical world. Camus is too concerned with the creation of meaning in a meaningless world through the process of living life. The novel is a first-person account of the life of M. Meursault from the time of his mother's death up to a time evidently just before his execution for the murder of an Arab. The central theme is that the significance of human life is understood only in light of mortality, or the fact of death; and in showing Meursault's consciousness change through the course of events, Camus shows how facing the possibility of death does have an effect on one's perception of life. So how do we know that the world of The Stranger is irrational and how do different characters in the novel react to this irrationality? Camus demonstrates that the world of The Stranger is irrational by excluding from the text any logical explanation for the events of the novel. Camus was influenced by a diverse collection of foreign authors and philosophies in the 1930s. These influences and moods helped formulate the philosophies of Existentialism and the Absurd as associated with Sartre and Camus. Due to Camus' working-class upbringing, he grows up with a suspicion toward idealism and introspection. He was never one to invest in dreaming. He was interested in living life and the struggle for meaning without the distraction of dreams and fabrications. Although Camus later tried to distance himself from the concept of Existentialism, critics still place him there and his own ideas were influenced by the forum of Sartre and other Existentialist philosophers of the time. According to Existentialism, man existed among and against other men in a brutal adventure to which one must give meaning through his actions. The Absurd deals more with the irresolvable paradox between objective judgment of an action...
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