Essay about Anarchism in Albert Camus' Short Story, The Guest

Essay about 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
reward.
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
end?

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