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Comparing the philosophies in Camus's The Stranger and Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning - Essay Example

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Existentialism is a difficult term and an odd movement to define but the books, "The Stranger" by Calms and "Man's Search for Meaning" by Frank, tend to show characters which display existentialism in their characters. This essay is an eager effort to analyze the existential philosophies displayed in the works of both the writers…
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Comparing the philosophies in Camus's The Stranger and Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning

Download file to see previous pages... Meursault is a clerk, who seems to have no feelings and spends afternoons in lovemaking and empty nights in the cinema. He reaches self-knowledge by committing a crime - he shoots an Arab on the beach without explicit reason and motivation - it was hot, the Arab had earlier terrorized him and his friend Raymond, and he had an headache. Meursault is condemned to die as much for his refusal to accept the standards of social behavior as for the crime itself.
In his great work, "The Stranger," Albert Camus exposes his readers to the existentialistic parts of philosophy. The existentialism within his work shapes his characters, by determining how they will act and respond to what is going on around them. However, due to the existentialism, the character stands out in a way unique to the characters in that work.
Meursault, the protagonist in "The Stranger," is an insensitive individual. He shows no feelings towards anyone throughout the novel. It is this lack of feeling that strongly reflects the philosophy of existentialism. Meursault does not feel any sensations a normal human would have with members of the opposite sex, nor does anything important seem to interest him. This lack of feeling, Meursault does realize it is a problem, for he states himself, "I explained to him, however, that my nature was that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings.(pg 65)" also sees no reason for change in his life. The common theme is that life will be meaningless if we don't put anything into it. Another good example would be after Maman's funeral, Meursault says that, "It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over, that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed."
The work of Camus show the theme of absurdity that life is meaningless by death and an individual can't make sense of his experience. Work, a home, and a girl is what Meursault has, and he feels nothing more is needed. He is very existentialistic because of his fate. When the priest asks Meursault if he would like a different life, his response was that he would like one that would be exactly the same as this current one. The fate for the rest of his life rolls a rock to the top of a mountain, then stops and watches it roll back past him. There is no way we can control our fate, because it is predetermined. When he was asked whether he would like to move to Paris, Meursault responded that "people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn't dissatisfied with mine here at all."
In general Victor Frankl sees man as a free, self-determined agent who uniquely determines the meaning of his own individual life, having the potential for either great good or great evil. He stresses man's responsibility for his own life: "things determine each other but man is ultimately self-determining" (p.157). He asks, "How can we dare to predict the behavior of man"(p. 155). Yet he cautions that "freedom...is not the last word"(p. 155) but rather "is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness" (p.
Frankl sees the primary motivation of man as "the striving to find meaning in one's life" (p. 121). This is not ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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