Albert Camus and The Absurd Essay

Albert Camus and The Absurd Essay

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The Stranger, by Albert Camus, is the story of Meursault, a man who cares not for the future, nor the past. He lives without meaning, without rationality, without emotions. On one fateful day at the beach, Meursault shoots and kills an Arab, leading to a chain of events that causes his death. Throughout the judicial process, Albert Camus criticizes the society he lives in and the values it holds. The Stranger is the definitive work on Camus' own thoughts, and the basis of title as the Professor of the Absurd. The story of Meursault exemplifies Camus' Absurdist philosophy, which was a result of Camus’ poor childhood that forced him to struggle for the best in his life against adverse conditions, his adulthood that showed him the irrationality of society, and the Second World War that showed him the gruesome horror of death. His philosophy is reflected in his criticism of Meursault's indifferences towards death, the irrationality of the Arab's killing, and the consequences that the Law enacts upon Meursault in return.
The early life of Camus seeded the roots of his Absurdist philosophy by forcing him to live his life to the fullest, even under adverse circumstances. He was born in Algiers, Algeria in the year 1913, raised by his mother after his father's death in World War I. He found wonder in his surroundings, but also injustice - and still, he struggled to make the best of his life. "I lived in destitution but also in a kind of sensual delight" (Encyclopedia of World Biography, "Childhood"), he said, showing how even when he grew up poor and in the working-class section of town, he found his own happiness. In primary school, Camus was a hard-working student, and with the help of his teacher, managed to gain admission to the Al...


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...ault's reflection on his mother's death, the killing of the Arab, and his impending punishment show Camus' innate belief in absurdity. It is a treatise against nihilism, a message to find meaning in the meaningless void that is life, and to accept that contradiction as a fundamental part of one's belief.


Works Cited
"Albert Camus - Philosopher - Biography." The European Graduate School - Graduate & Postgraduate Studies Program - Saas Fee, Switzerland. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.
"Albert Camus Biography - life, childhood, name, death, history, mother, young, book, old, information, born, time, year." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Web. 27 Feb. 2010.
Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Trans. Matthew Ward. New York: Vintage International, 1989. Print.
Rubé, Pierre, and Kenneth Douglas. "Who Was Albert Camus?" Yale French Studies 25 (1960): 3-9. JSTOR. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.

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