Essay on Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): Finding a Rational God through Nature

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Finding a Rational God through Nature in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider) Turning towards nature for fulfillment, The Stranger’s Meursault rejects the ideology of God as a savior and is consequently juxtaposed against Jesus Christ’s martyrdom, Christianity and the infamous crucifixion. To the inexperienced reader, Meursault appears to be an extreme atheist. Later in Albert Camus’ novel, he is revealed as a humanistic soul that’s in touch with the universality of the earth and soil he treads upon. Through the use of blunt and undefined nature images, Meursault’s revelations and newfound trust within an environment outside of society are softly whispered by Camus. In essence, Meursault imposes his need for meaning upon nature as well as upon a God who rejects him. Through this imposition, he hopes to acquire an immortality which is similar to a Christian afterlife. The arguments of nature as a religion and as an entity separate from God are jointly focused upon in the modern criticisms and interpretations of The Stranger I will discuss. Pantheism, a quasi-religious worship of nature, comes into mind when looking at Meursault’s final communion with the world. Is pantheism a mere excuse for Meursault’s actions or rather a secret reality of his which the public is not ready to confront or understand? Icons and stereotypes accompany this enigmatic, suggestive natural imagery and are employed by Camus to show the irrationality in both society’s and Meursault’s assumptions of religion and of Christianity. One is left with the question of Meursault’s acceptance of death; is Meursault’s embracing of his fate representative of his fall into the abyss of traditional Christian faith or indeed a turn towards a happy medium in nature?... ... middle of paper ... ...thood Without God.” In Mansions of the Spirit. Ed. George A. Panichas. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc. Publishers, 1967. 313-324. Hanna, Thomas L. “Albert Camus and the Christian Faith.” In Camus: A Collection of Critical Essays. edited by Germaine Bree. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1962. 48-64. Harrison, Paul. “Scientific Pantheism: Basic Principles.” Elements of Pantheism. [cited from April 20 1999]. Availible from http://members.aol.com/heraklit1/basicpri.htm Peyre, Henri. “Camus the Pagan.” In Camus: A Collection of Critical Essays. edited by Germaine Bree. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1962. 65-70. Piper, H.W. The Active Universe. London: The Athlone Press 1962. Sprintzen, David. Camus: A Critical Examination. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988. Woelfel, James W. Camus: A Theological Perspective. New York: Abingdon Press, 1975.

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