Albert Camus And The Absurd Essay

1631 words - 7 pages

The Stranger, by Albert Camus, is the story of Meursault, a man who cares not for the future, nor the past. He lives without meaning, without rationality, without emotions. On one fateful day at the beach, Meursault shoots and kills an Arab, leading to a chain of events that causes his death. Throughout the judicial process, Albert Camus criticizes the society he lives in and the values it holds. The Stranger is the definitive work on Camus' own thoughts, and the basis of title as the Professor of the Absurd. The story of Meursault exemplifies Camus' Absurdist philosophy, which was a result of Camus’ poor childhood that forced him to struggle for the best in his life against adverse conditions, his adulthood that showed him the irrationality of society, and the Second World War that showed him the gruesome horror of death. His philosophy is reflected in his criticism of Meursault's indifferences towards death, the irrationality of the Arab's killing, and the consequences that the Law enacts upon Meursault in return.
The early life of Camus seeded the roots of his Absurdist philosophy by forcing him to live his life to the fullest, even under adverse circumstances. He was born in Algiers, Algeria in the year 1913, raised by his mother after his father's death in World War I. He found wonder in his surroundings, but also injustice - and still, he struggled to make the best of his life. "I lived in destitution but also in a kind of sensual delight" (Encyclopedia of World Biography, "Childhood"), he said, showing how even when he grew up poor and in the working-class section of town, he found his own happiness. In primary school, Camus was a hard-working student, and with the help of his teacher, managed to gain admission to the Algiers lycée, or high school. In an unfortunate stroke of fate, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, then a life-threatening disease, at the age of seventeen. This kept him from any strenuous physical activity, such as football, one of his interests; the military; and even teaching. Even after this debilitating event, Camus struggled on to find ways to succeed. This mentality leads to his future idea of the struggle to find meaning in life being all-important, not the result of that struggle.
After graduating from University, Albert Camus further developed his theory of the absurd when he discovered the innate irrationality of life. He completed his university studies in 1936, and became active in politics. In 1935, he joined the French Communist Party in order to fight inequalities between Europeans and natives in Algeria. A year later, he joined the Algerian Communist Party, formed to promote the independence of Algeria. However, because of the political climate at the time, the French Communist Party decided to work against the Algerians, and thus alienated Camus. He, along with many others who shared his beliefs, left the party. In order to save face, the party thereafter expelled him. This seeming betrayal caused...

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