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The Meaning of Human Existence

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World Literature 1 - The Meaning of Human Existence In both the Metamorphosis and The Stranger the authors focus on the irrationality of the universe and explore the insignificance of human life. Both of the novels' main characters, Gregor (from the Metamorphosis) and Meursault (from The Stranger) live lives of silent desperation. In the Metamorphosis Franz Kafka introduces us to Gregor, an ordinary young business man supporting his unappreciative family. The startling element to this novel is that Gregor has just turned into a beetle. The Stranger by Albert Camus' tells a story of a very physically different character, named Meursault, yet both books convey similar messages. Gregor and Meursault start out unaware of their circumstances however throughout each of the novels they become more aware and learn to accept their fate. The Metamorphosis begins where your typical story is at its climax; we have no idea how or why Gregor has made this physical transformation to a beetle. ...read more.


(Page 36) Meursault does not display any emotion or rationale; he doesn't stop question anything, just accepts life as it is and carries on. Meursault's predicament stems from his choice to shoot and kill an Algerian man. During his trial the prosecuting attorney questions Meursault's morality because he did not grieve appropriately for his mother's death. When he faces the attorney's interrogation he answers each question telling the truth and doesn't try to skew things. Meursault didn't mean to maliciously go out and kill the Arab man, he simply allows himself to fall into these immoral situations because of his lack of thought and consideration. The attorney is playing his game and attempts to fabricate a rational reason for his behavior, but in reality Meursault was simply irrational. Camus uses this situation to comment on the way that we try to rationalize every situation that we are faced with, but sometimes things happen without a reason. ...read more.


Or yesterday maybe, I don't know." His mother was elderly, and he decided to place her in a retirement home because she had become an inconvenience to him; she had stopped talking "not to mention the trouble of getting (her) to the bus, buying tickets, and spending two hours travelling." (Page 5) To Meursault there is no one person that he truly cares for besides himself, he even feels indifferent towards his girlfriend. Camus uses. Meursault symbolizes everyone in today's world, and uses this situation as a way of commenting on how our life is. Again, just as Kafka, Camus is not attempting to tell us that our lives are meaningless, but that this is how we are treating ourselves. We need to make a cha nge to recognize that human existence is of greater importance than we give it credit. As both of the novels move along Gregor and Meursault slowly decay until their death. Both characters make a transformation or come to a realization. As the novel progresses Gregor moves away from his human tendencies and becomes more and more insect like, accepting and even embracing his insect qualities. ...read more.

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