Anarchism in Albert Camus' Short Story, The Guest

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Anarchism in Albert Camus' Short Story, "The Guest"

[[ "The Guest" is a small story which can usually be found in a

compilation of Camus' works or in a World Literature

anthology. Here, I have used the translation of "The Guest"

found in the Norton Anthology of World Literature, 5th

Edition. Since this is a critical essay on a particular

story, it assumes that the reader has read the story.

I do not believe that it will be nonsensical if you have

not read "The Guest" yet, but I do encourage you to read

the story so the ideas I put forth can be understood better

in their context. ]]

It is my firm belief that the individual is the key to understanding

human existence; further, anarchy is the key to living human existence.

I call it Individual Anarchism. After all, in the view of society, is

there anything more chaotic than for one single person simply to be him-

self? And is there any more individual philosophy within the theories

of politics than to say that there is no need for government?

I have thought about anarchism for some time, but I could not see

how it could really work. It always seemed that mankind and the world

would have to have an epiphany or Utopic conversion before people could

be free of government and societal restrictions. Then I read a small

story by Albert Camus called "The Guest". It did not really seem to say

anything novel to the world which it addressed; however, it did say

something novel to me. It opened my eyes and allowed me to understand

that Anarchy is personal; it is not a collective possibility. It rests

upon the idea of a person acting within a sphere where his existence is

not intrusive upon the existence of ano...

... middle of paper ...

.... Yet the author opens within me channels and connections of thought

I had been unable to pull together before. This is true even though much

of what I see now has always been present in my spiritual and philosophic

research. However, the last piece of the Puzzle, the one which had

fallen under the table, if not the hardest to fit into place, is always

the most rewarding to find. Maybe that is because Truth is its own


At any rate, having finished the puzzle and having looked at it for

a while, I must now unscrammable it and put it back together again. So

strange that the Labors of Sissyphus are so much fun. Still, each time

I look at the pieces, crying out to be put together, they seem so dif-

ferent. Indeed, they have fallen in a whole new pattern which I am

seeing for the very first time. What matter that they lead to the same


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