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Franz Kafka and Albert Camus were two writers whose work flourished as part of the existential movement.

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Introduction

Eileen Carey March 27, 2003 Franz Kafka and Albert Camus were two writers whose work flourished as part of the existential movement. Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe. It regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts. Kafka's literary piece, entitled The Metamorphosis, is the story of a man's transformation into a bug in Prague at the beginning of the 20th century. Camus novel, The Stranger , depicts the life of an aloof human being in Africa during the 1940s. Solitude is the act of distancing oneself from his or her surroundings. Both Gregor, the protagonist in The Metamorphosis, and Meursault, the protagonist in The Stranger, demonstrate their own form of seclusion from society. In The Metamorphosis, the theme of isolation is manifested through the life of Gregor, the protagonist, who becomes a bug. Even before his metamorphosis, Gregor lives a transient life staying for short periods in hotels during many nights due to his work life. While at home, Gregor locks the doors in his room, a habit he claimed to have picked up from staying at so many hotels. ...read more.

Middle

In The Stranger by Albert Camus the protagonist, Meursault, lives a very solitary existence. Meursault seems to distance himself from his own emotions. In part one of Camus novel, Meursault is faced with the death of his mother. He does not feel sorrowful about his mother and demonstrates indifference towards what would seem to be an emotionally draining experience. At his mother's funeral, he does not cry while others wallow in their sorrows before him. He sits alone, for he is alone. He alienates himself from the other characters because he does not feel the way they do. Meursault does not hide this from his companions. "A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so." When Marie, Meursault's lover, tries to express herself to him, he cannot comprehend the emotional implications she is trying to extend. His answer, though honest, is cold and detached. This idea that love doesn't mean anything is later expressed once Meursault comes to the conclusion that human existence is meaningless. This is a popular existential belief. He pushes himself away from other people by not reacting to their emotions. ...read more.

Conclusion

Meursault lacks all responsibility for himself and others. The Stranger and The Metamorphosis demonstrate the act of seclusion between the two protagonists. Gregor Samsa isolated himself from his family and society by locking his doors to the outside world and creeping into dark corners where he could hide himself. Meursault disregards the emotions of the people in his life and does not care whether or not they are a part of his life. Gregor is alienated by his family, while Meursault chooses to be secluded from society. Though Gregor did demonstrate tentative longings to be alone (his subconscious act of locking his bedroom door while even at home), he still cared for the lives of his family. He made an effort to provide financially to them. Meursault secluded himself from those who tried to get close to him. He was a selfish character who could not even be bothered to care for the life of his own mother. The compassions of the two men, or lack there of, are what separate themselves for each other. Both Kafka and Camus demonstrate the existential idea that human beings have the capability to seclude themselves from society and the people around them. Seclusion As An Existential Theme In Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis And Albert Camus The Stranger Eileen Carey IB World Lit 1 March 2003 Mrs. ...read more.

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