The Expression of Absurdism

Topics: Absurdism, Albert Camus, Existentialism Pages: 3 (1180 words) Published: January 24, 2013
The Expression of Absurdism
In Albert Camus’ Novel “The Stranger”

The Stranger by Albert Camus is a novel written in an absurdist point of view. The main character Meursault is faced with the death of his mother, the conflict between his neighbor Raymond, and Raymond’s girlfriend, and finally the decision to shoot the Arab. Camus suggests through his main character Meursault that being an absurdist is not living a life without meaning but rather living a life with a meaning while admitting to the irrationality and randomness of the world.

Within this societies culture when ones mother passes away there is an expectation to feel an outward representation of grief but in The Stranger Meursault’s reaction to his mother’s death is calm, indifferent, and completely absurd. The dominating religion in this society is Catholicism. In the Catholic religion the mother figure is an extremely important icon, if not more important than Jesus himself. The very first line of the novel describes the cold, indifferent reaction from Meursault, “Mama died today, or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: “Mother is deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.” That doesn’t mean anything maybe it was yesterday.” (1.1.1) To react so indifferently to the death of your own mother is completely unheard of in this particular society because of how highly the mother figure is valued to the Catholic people. To Meursault it is just another inconvenience, at the funeral, he drinks ‘white’ coffee, smokes his cigarettes and sheds not one tear. As the day goes on Meursault describes how little difference it makes in his life since this event transpired, “It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over that Mama was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that really, nothing had changed.” (1.2.11) In a practical way this might make sense, but not in an emotional way, just like many of Meursault’s beliefs.

Mersault’s neighbour Raymond asks...
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