• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Is one's Perception of the Absurd developed (through the Character of Meursault) in the Outsider?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How Is one's Perception of the Absurd developed (through the Character of Meursault) in the Outsider? Albert Camus, born on the 7th of November 1913 in Algeria, was a French journalist, author and philosopher. After World War I many Europeans lost faith and began to question certain aspects of life. Camus and various existential writers, such as Samuel Beckett, judged that life was mainly monotonous and grey and that the ?loss of human ultimate certainties?[1] occurred. Although Camus openly said: ?No, I am not an existentialist?[2], mainly two philosophical notions can be found in The Outsider. Absurdism is ?the belief that human beings exist in a purposeless, chaotic universe?[3], thus all efforts of humans to find rationality will ultimately fail as no such meaning in life exists. Another philosophy which is pervasive in the novel is existentialism, which is the belief ?that people are searching to find out who and what they are throughout life as they make choices based on their experiences, beliefs, and outlook without the help of laws, ethnic rules, or traditions?[4]. The Outsider is the story about Meursault, the narrator and protagonist, who, following a series of irrational events commits homicide and is put on trial. ...read more.

Middle

Another emotion that reveal Camus' philosophical thoughts is love. Meursault shows a certain callousness towards his girlfriend Marie. The following paragraph creates a straight forward picture of the protagonist's relationship. ?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. She looked sad. But as we were fixing lunch, and for no apparent reason, she laughed in such a way that I kissed her.? (Part 1 Chapter 4) This might provoke a hostile feeling within the conservative reader. By definition, love is an ?intense feeling of deep affection?, it can bring meaning and purpose into life. This contradiction implies that the protagonist is a loveless person. The reader is poised to perceive a sense of rejection towards Meursault; his lack of altruism seems to portray his meaningless attitude towards life. Yet again the reader can only empathize on a minimalistic base with the protagonist. This lack of identification creates doubt within of what the character of Meursault lives for. At this point one is able to see how Camus uses the notion of love and Meursault's indifference concerning it, to guide the reader towards re-thinking the purpose of life. ...read more.

Conclusion

This becomes clear when Meursault confesses to the homicide. However for the magistrate and the courtroom it is more complex than this conviction; they want an explanation. At this point the reader again the tenet of the irrationality of the universe. There is no logical explanation for the court to try to understand his indifference. Meursault took the decision to kill a human being, and stands straight for it. On the other hand society cannot accept his motive, thus his honesty, as a valid justification behind the crime, which proposes such irrationality. They cannot interpret the child like behavior of the convict, and come to the conclusion that he has “no place in a society whose most fundamental rules [he] ignored, nor [that he] knew nothing of the most basic human reactions” (2.4.) . In conclusion Camus makes it hard for the reader to deduct these philosophical notions ________________ [1] Beckett, Samuel Barclay. "THE ABSURDITY OF SAMUEL BECKETT." THE ABSURDITY OF SAMUEL BECKETT - CHAPTER 3. Center For Comparative Cultural Studies, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2012. <http://www.samuel-beckett.net/CH_3.HTM>. [2]From an interview with Jeanine Delpech, in Les Nouvelles Littéraires, (1945). Cited in Albert Camus: Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage (1970) [3]http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/absurdism?q=absurdism [4]http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/existentialism-definition-faq.htm ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    The Stark effects of being absurd in society- The Outsider

    4 star(s)

    Funeral tomorrow. Yours sincerely.' That doesn't mean anything. It may have been yesterday." We see Meursault's inability to conform to humanity in the event of his mother's death, and the use of the short sentence stating quality. He merely retells the dubious facts of her death as mundane as the telegram had stated it.

  2. Isolation was a huge theme throughout The Stranger; reasons why Meursault was isolated were ...

    At this point is when the relationship with his mother and people in general, began to change.

  1. The Stranger: The Relationship between Meursalt and the Reader Sentimentally speaking, the character ...

    (Camus, 59) Meursault is sentenced to death while in prison. Only now does he begin to realize the value of life. With only few things to do in prison he invariably reflects on his life. He eventually comes to terms with his situation and accepts it.

  2. In what ways do the actions of Meursault and Firdaus demonstrate their resistance against ...

    Disillusioned with this marriage, Firdaus chooses to be a prostitute. Evidence that this turn towards prostitution is a liberating act for Firdaus is clear when she says how "all women are prostitutes of one kind or another...I preferred to be a free prostitute, rather than an enslaved wife.

  1. World literature - the outsider

    Burials are significant tradition in the society, and Anouilh has shown readers how this important burial is in the earth, a natural element; demonstrating how nature is part of traditions, and also symbolises freedom. The reader is positioned to view the dirt as putting Polynices spirit to "rest", and the

  2. Hamlet Journal - rewriting key passages from the play

    God cannot forgive this murder because Claudius isn't truly sorry for killing his brother. He gained power and a wife from it. His heart is black as death. C. Really, you are trying to repent after what you just did.

  1. How adopting a philosophical standpoint can alter one's interpretation of the text &amp;quot;The Outsider&amp;quot; ...

    Text and context. ________________ Marking Criteria Excel V. Good Satisfac-tory Develop. Not Shown Constructs a convincing alternative reading of the The Outsider. Demonstrates a clear understanding of the way readers are positioned to accept an ideology. Well-structured with a clear introduction, body and conclusion. Correct paragraphing and clear transitions.

  2. The Stranger, Albert Camuss first novel, is a brilliantly crafted story and a portrayal ...

    and a wide brim (he took it off as the casket was coming through the gate, a suit with trousers that were corkscrewed down around his ankles, and a black tie with a knot that was too small for the big white collar of his shirt.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work