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Critical Anaysis of The Stranger by Albert Camus - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class April 24, 2012 Camus’ The Stranger: Detachment as Response to Absurdity Albert Camus' novel The Stranger illustrates the life of a simple, but intelligent, officer worker, Meursault. His acquaintance and neighbor, Robert, has introduced Arab enemies to his life, and one day, Meursault kills one of these Arabs…
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Critical Anaysis of The Stranger by Albert Camus

Download file to see previous pages... The sun is the motif of the novel, where it affects the personality of Meursault and his reaction to his setting and conditions in life. The sun represents the existentialist philosophy of Meursault, where the natural absurdity of the setting and its plot are designed to illustrate that detachment is a natural response to the meaninglessness of human existence. The sun stands for the existentialist philosophy of Meursault, a philosophy that Camus himself believes in. Christian argues that Camus believes in an existentialist philosophy of “the Absurd” (92). He stresses that for Camus, the world and man per se are not absurd, and instead, the relationship of man with his environment is absurd (92). He maintains that people demand things from a world that cannot fulfill them, and so to exist with true hope for the fulfillment of dreams is “absurd” (92). Meursault lives life like a sun, where to exist is to accept whatever happens without any attachment to them. He has an extremely disconnected attitude towards his mother’s death, for instance. He says at the beginning of the novel: “MOTHER died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure” (Camus 4). He does not care for details when it comes to death. He values his mother enough to attend her funeral, but he does it out of duty, as a son. He does not even peek into his mother’s coffin, which people in the funeral find troubling. Strangers cry for her, while her own son does not even shed a tear. In addition, Meursault is not overly concerned of the prospect of dying himself. Death is not something that can stir him from his realization that nothing in life is worth pouring his passion over. His existence has come from nothing and will end up as nothing and that is the way life is. The sun heats up the setting and melts away any possible meaning in human action and agenda. The sun is a natural element of life’s natural cycle. The blackness of the funeral of Meursault’s mother is distinguished because of the sun. Meursault, nevertheless, finds no meaning in these rituals and beliefs about the dead. The black colors of the hearse and horse and the noxious scents of the environment only serve to dull Meursault’s senses. In short, the funeral makes him want to sleep it away. Blackness means nothing, while sleeping is something that is more directly experienced. Furthermore, the sun also increases the temperature enough to make people live without concern for their actions. Meursault tumbles in his life in a state of coma and existence, because he always feels hot and uncomfortable. He wants to hurry up the funeral, because he feels the physical discomfort of standing under the sun. The Marengo landscape is illustrated as “something inhuman, discouraging” (Camus 11). Camus indicates that Meursault cannot be completely blamed for his absurdist approach to life, because his environment is disconcerting too. Von Dehsen calls it the “unreasonable silence of the world” to people who want to find meaning in life (39). Meursault realizes that his boss dislikes the fact that he will have several days off. His boss is only after making more money from his employees and is not truly concerned for him to attend his mother’s funeral and go over his grief. The society is not concerned of meaningful human existence too. Meursault’s relationships are important events in his life, as the plot reveals, but he ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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