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From 'the Outsider' By Albert Camus To What Extent Is Mersault An Existentialist? Does His Philosophy Make Him An Outsider To The Society In Which He Lives?

742 words - 3 pages

To what extent is Mersault an existentialist? Does his philosophy make him an outsider to the society in which he lives?The author of the book 'The Outsider', Albert Camus was an existentialist. This philosophy formed the basis of his main character Mersault. As an existentialist this philosophy makes Mersault an outsider to the society in which he lives. He believes that life is an unrelenting effort with no reward at the end, believing the only truth is 'I exist, therefore I am'. Mersault is a man who does not make decisions and just goes with the flow. There is a great link between Camus and Mersault, reflecting his view on life. Clearly, the philosophy of Mersault makes him an outsider.Mersault believes that life is an unrelenting effort, where in the end he gets no reward. Mersault goes through life never chasing any dreams or wishing for anything. He very rarely initiates actions. Mersault wasn't really a man of many words, and as people would discuss an issue he would just agree or pick a particular feature that disgusted or irritated him. These traits are very peculiar and are not common in society and this is why Mersault is considered an outsider. He himself knows that he is an outsider to society. Throughout the book Mersault is condemned for being an outsider to society but also for being lazy. An example of this is shown in the following quote, "The first few months were bad. But the very fact that I had to make an effort helped me through them". He was also a stranger to himself and as an existentialist he rejected any attempt to find reason and order in the universe.Being an existentialist Mersault believes there is no higher meaning to the universe or man's existence, with no rational order to the events of the world. As an existentialist Mersault feels that 'existence preceded essences'; that people must make their own choices without help from the essences of laws and traditions. Mersault rarely makes his attitudes and emotions towards life aware to people, except for the fact that he 'does not love Marie' and 'he does not...

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