The Stranger: Existentialism Essay That Analyazes The Use Of Existentialism Withing The Novel The Stranger

689 words - 3 pages

Existentialism, the belief that mankind is entirely free and therefore responsible for their actions, is shown in Camus's novel, The Stranger. Through the various characters (namely Meursault) and elements of the story the beliefs of existentialism are clearly demonstrated in The Stranger.Meursault is the apex of the existentialism belief. Once Meursault begins following the path of the existentialism beliefs (which is made apparent in the story he did not follow at a time) Meursault's life is seen as an abomination in the eyes of the world and yet shows one of the pillars of existentialism - "Some things are irrational or absurd, without explanation". When Meursault views the world he sees it as both irrational and absurd, believing that the acts of normal life does not matter, only what matters to him is the moment - the actions which he is partaking in (seen through Meursault's actions throughout ...view middle of the document...

The original action of Meursault, the interaction with Raymond and writing the letter, an action that created stress, is perpetuated with the Arabs who seek revenge upon Raymond for wrongs done upon his girlfriend. Meursault shows that he follows the existentialism beliefs by "following through" on his letter, leading ultimately to the cold-blooded murder of one of the Arabs that followed Raymond. What follows the murder, an action of Meursault, shows another pillar of the existentialist belief - that few decisions are without any negative consequences. The negative consequence of Meursault's actions was not that he received the death penalty, for the existentialist beliefs that life is meaningless because of the certainty of death, but the fact that Meursault is confined to actions that disrupt his life and the confines of prison. Where the novel describes the prison life that Meursault must adjust to, it occasionally mentions what Meursault wishes he could do, those wishes being confined, the taking away of Meursault's free will, is what is seen as the negative effects of his previous decisions.The theme of the Stranger is also supports and demonstrates existentialist beliefs. The fact that throughout the trial Meursault is shown to be something other than a normal human shows that that is what the existentialists are to the world. Their belief that life is mundane and pointless does not collaborate with the world's view. Where the world sees meaning in the world, the existentialist does not; giving the world a reason to not understand the existentialists and therefore believe that their characters make them something other than human. Meursault's trial shows that theme, that the world does not understand nor accept existentialists and it does not understand existentialist views and actions.Throughout the Stranger existentialist views are seen. With the actions of Meursault, the views of Meursault and with the themes of the novel it is clearly seen that the Stranger was written with existentialist views as a basis for the text.

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