Existentialism in The Stranger by Albert Camus

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In The Stranger by Albert Camus there are many points where Camus’s personal beliefs in existentialism are found. Camus showed his existentialistic beliefs by using his characters to make social commentaries on multiple different social institution, including marriage, time, and society itself. Camus uses all of his characters to show his social commentaries with specific characters going to show what existentialists believe are bad qualities of social institutions. Some of the social institutions that are shown in this novel are marriage, time, and the idea of a group of people forming a society altogether. The social institution of marriage is shown through multiple characters, including Marie, Raymond, Perez, and Meursault. These characters show how those who get married are unhappy and the people who do not get married seem to be the happiest. It is also important to see that Camus shows the characters who in love are blinded by it. The social institution of time is mostly shown through Meursault while he is in jail. Time can be considered a social institution due to the fact that it was created by man and Meursault leaves this social institution while imprisoned. Finally the idea that anyone needs to be a part of a society is also a social institution, and Meursault shows how a society is not needed and actually people are happier when they are not even a part of a society. Because of this Meursault becomes a society of one. Looking at all the times when Camus uses social commentaries about different social institutions it is easily found that existentialism guides many of the social commentaries within this novel and is a very important aspect of the novel itself.
One social institution that Camus talks about through his ...

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... social institution. When Meursault leaves the constraints of time he is much happier and has time to think about everything he needs to do. And sense he has time to think about what he needs he then leaves society all together. This is the final social institution that there is a commentary on. Without having to follow what is set upon him by society he can do and think what he wants, and because of that he even understands why Moman did what she did at the end of her life. With all of these social commentaries there are many points in the novel when existentialist ideas are shown and also show how import existentialism is in this novel.

Works Cited

Camus, Albert . The Stranger. 1942. Reprint. New York: Random House, Inc., 1988. Print.
"Existentialism." AllAboutPhilosophy.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2014.
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