Camus’ Attitude to the Absurd in his The Stranger
Albert Camus (1913-1960) was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1957 for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times. He was a representative of non-metropolitan French literature. His origin in Algeria and his experiences there in the thirties were dominating influences in his thought and work. The Stranger is indeed based on Camus’s theory of the absurd. In The Stranger, Albert Camus portrays his views of life, death and the world. Camus portrays the world as absurd or without purpose. Meaursalt, who, as a reflection of Camus, foreign and indifferent to his own life and death. Meaursalt is a man who is clearly in opposition to his society. He is indifferent, apathetic, wholly materialistic and lacks any emotional capability. He has followed the absurd path. He is a typical example of an absurd character. Through Meaursalt, Camus shows the absurdity of life. He shows the endless cycles of birth and death. Ultimately, Camus presents the world as essentially meaningless.
Absurdity, Meaninglessness of life.
Absurdity does not entail a certain style of life, but a certain frame of mind. Absurdism is a literary idea that began to grow in the 1920s and prospered as people sought to explain the wars and hardships that plagued the world at that time. Its basic principle is that life does not matter. People are powerless to really change their lives or the lives of others, and so humanity is basically useless. No matter how brilliantly or terribly we live our lives; we will eventually die and be left with nothing. The world is therefore meaningless, but humanity is constantly trying to explain its own existence. People are searching for something they can never possibly find. It is an absurd search. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary gave definition of...
References: 1. Camus, Albert. The Stranger, Penguin Books, 1983.
2. Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus, Penguin Books, 1988.
3. McCarthy, Partrick. Albert Camus The Stranger. Cambridge University Press, 1988.
4. Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/
5. R. Lottman, Herbert. Albert Camus: A Biography, University of Michigan, 1979.
6. Albert Camus – Britanica online Encyclopedia. Britannica.com, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/91464/Albert-Camus.
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