The Impenetrability Of Human Existence In Albert Camus's The Stranger

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Although a work of fiction, Albert Camus’s The Stranger represents a work of French existential literature. Lacking reason for his actions, Meursault claims that nothing in life matters since we will all eventually die. Detached from society, Meursault acts differently and therefore, is viewed as a stranger. In truly embracing the idea that human existence holds no greater meaning, Meursault not only abandons all hope for the future, but also accepts the inevitable reality of the world. Stephen Michelman states that “morality, religion, science, and philosophy purport to discover unchanging universal principles and values,…death chance, and the impenetrability of human motives render life essentially incomprehensible and controvert claims for transcendent meaning” (Michelman 265). While in prison, awaiting his execution, Meursault comes to realize that just as he has lived his life one way, while he could of easily just as well have lived it another, nothing would matter. For Meursault, the universe is indifferent. After attending his mother’s funeral, it occurs to Meursault that o...

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