Advance English 2
Mr. E. Hardy
December 9, 2012
The Strangest Existentialism
To understand how existentialism is present in The Stranger, written by Albert Camus in 1946, we first need to understand what existentialism is, and originally being written in French, the book presents some troubles in understanding and comprehending the existentialism that is present. Existentialism is a philosophical approach to understanding human existence and experiences. It is based on the assumption that individuals are free and responsible for their own choices and actions. Acting on your own experiences is essential in arriving at the truth and "man is condemned to be free.” (Sartre). Existentialism is present in mainly two events that occur in the story, when Meursault is on the beach, and he shoots the Arabian. And when he is about to be killed at the end of the story.
One part of the novel that displays existentialism is when Meursault shot the Arab on the beach and how he handled the situation afterwards. The Arab drew his weapon, and in this case it was a knife and held it up to Meursault, but that occurrence was not what bothered Meursault at all, it was the light from the sun that shot off the Arab’s knife, and along with the intense heat along with the salt from his sweat in his eyes that was bothering him before. Meursault shot the Arab mainly because he was uncomfortable with the heat and sunlight shining off the knife, not because he felt threatened. In the following pages, Meursault can't understand why he would need an attorney for his case because it's simple to him, he had murdered a man and was now ready to pay the consequences. It exemplifies existentialism because it shows the power of free choice, which is what existentialism solely is. Being able to choose one’s destiny as a way of free choice.
The other part of the story that displays existentialism is at the end of the novel when Meursault is sentenced to death. In my...