Sun Related Elements and The Existentialist Philosophy in The Outsider Essay

Sun Related Elements and The Existentialist Philosophy in The Outsider Essay

Length: 1146 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


From the first few sentences of Albert Camus’ The Outsider, the protagonist, Meursault, is characterized as an amoral man. He is seemingly indifferent to the death of his own mother, despite the fact that societal principles would suggest he be deeply emotionally affected. His thoughts are instead centered upon the sun, which in return dictates his actions. In the novel, the sun is a representation of the societal weight which urges individuals to conform to norms. The presence of the sun indicates the stages of the development of Meursault’s belief in existentialism. As his understanding of existentialism grows and he realises his independence from society, references to the sun’s harsh effects gradually become absent. Furthermore, the sun is used as a metaphor for death to exhibit the inevitable nature of dying, another fundamental component of existentialism. Through such references to the sun, the novel is able to assist the reader in appreciating existentialism by exhibiting the gradual development of Meursault’s philosophy and by evoking emotions which sensitize the reader to feel the beauty of existentialism.

Within The Outsider, a parallel exists between the sun, which dictates Meursault’s actions, and societal constraints, which dictate mainstream society’s actions. The Arab’s death, caused by the sun’s pressure, is strikingly similar to Meursault’s death, caused by societal pressure which urged the jury to condemn him as a monster. This link is solidified by the diction near the Arab’s death: “But the whole beach was reverberating in the sun and pressing against me from behind.”1 The use of the word “pressing” is reminiscent of situations where one is pressured by society.
The first part of the novel depicts Meursaul...


... middle of paper ...


... nothing.

Because of its omnipresent and inevitable nature, the sun is cleverly chosen to symbolize societal pressure and to metaphorically represent life. Through the use of this symbolism, the novel leads the reader to understanding and appreciating the implications of existentialism. In the final stage of Meursault’s life, he is content in realising that the universe is irrational, and that it is absurd that humans seek a rational order in life. It is interesting to note the contradicting ideas here. While Meursault realises that the universe is chaotic and irrational, he is content. Though he acknowledges the fact that the universe has no sun and is therefore irrational, he is able to find comfort as he is illuminated by the power of existentialism.



Works Cited

Camus, Albert. The Outsider (J. Laredo, Trans.) Penguin Books Canada Ltd. London, England. 1982

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Philosophy of Existentialism Essay

- ‘The most dangerous follower is he whose defection would destroy the whole party: that is to say, the best follower.’ – Friedrich Nietzsche Being recognizable and distinctive nowadays is something most individuals seek after. To become important or standing out in any community is not something today’s individuals have created or whatsoever. Ever since the twentieth century and even before, that belief and eagerness to prove your existence has been noticeably present. Not only between common people has this been there, also philosophers had sincerely thought about that humanly keenness to prove that one is different and essential, and tried to philosophically explain it....   [tags: Philosophy, Nietzsche, Socrates]

Strong Essays
1066 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Elements of Newton's Philosophy, By Voltaire

- The Elements of Newton's Philosophy. By Voltaire. (Guildford and London: Billing and Sons Ltd., 1967. Pp xvi, 363.) In this essay, published in 1738, Voltaire explains the philosophies of not only Newton, but in a large part Descartes because of his contributions in the fields of geometry. In Voltaire's concise explanation of Newton's and other philosophers' paradigms related in the fields of astronomy and physics, he employs geometry through diagrams and pictures and proves his statements with calculus....   [tags: Elements of Newton's Philosophy]

Free Essays
515 words (1.5 pages)

The Existentialist Literary Exam Paper : Existentialism

- Blythe McGregor December 5, 2017 Existentialist Literary Exam Paper: Prompt 3 Reality is a fundamental concept discussed in many branches of philosophy. It is particularly important within the existentialist framework. Existentialists, as well as phenomenologists, believe that when a human being is separated from reality, reality is altogether lost. If one is not currently in direct contact with reality, there is no reality at all. The existence of reality is dependent on one’s own experience of it....   [tags: Franz Kafka, Existentialism, The Trial, Ontology]

Strong Essays
725 words (2.1 pages)

Philosophy Of Existentialism Essay

- Philosophy 101 A look into the Philosophy of Existentialism and how one uses it for spiritual exploration… Introduction: For thousands of years, humanity has searched for meaning in their lives, it is one of the strongest aspects that connects us, to our ancestors across history. Now, I want you all to think for a moment, what gives your life meaning. It could be anything such as educating others, fighting for social justice, exploring new cultures, or your religion. Whatever it is, no one could fault you for wanting your life to have meaning; a sense of meaning, is something everyones wants, or maybe even needs....   [tags: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Philosophy]

Strong Essays
1153 words (3.3 pages)

Albert Camus and His Views on Existentialism Essay

- Albert Camus is considered one of the greatest existentialist writers of all time. However, although he was considered an existentialist writer, Camus never labeled himself as an existentialist. “No, I am not an existentialist”  (Albert Camus: Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage (1970)) Camus rejected in an 1945 interview, however in some of his literary works, some find that his writings are one of a true existentialistic thinker. Although many contrast these thoughts and believe that Camus was anything but a thinker of this philosophy, Camus is one of the main authors that people turn to research and read to understand the thinking of existentialism....   [tags: Existentialist Writer]

Strong Essays
1002 words (2.9 pages)

Beauvoir And Existentialism Essay

- Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were key figures in the philosophy of existentialism. Existentialism is defined as the philosophical theory that highlights individual existence, choice and freedom. It is the idea that human beings determine their own meaning in life, and venture to make rational decisions in spite of living in an illogical and unreasonable universe. Essentially, this principle calls into question human existence and the notion that individuals do not have a purpose in life....   [tags: Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Philosophy]

Strong Essays
1590 words (4.5 pages)

Movie Existentialism Essay

- Existentialism, as defined by Luke Mastin, “...is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice.”(2008). There are multiple occasions in which an individual can encounter an existentialist situation without acknowledging it. For example, choosing to go to school one day or not would be considered freedom of choice, which connects with the philosophy of existentialism. In the context of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard’s theory correlates to the movie, Before I Fall directed and adapted by Ry Russo-Young from the novel written by Lauren Oliver, due to the many movie scenes that involve an existentialist moment as exemplified through the main character in relation to K...   [tags: Existentialism, Philosophy, Søren Kierkegaard]

Strong Essays
859 words (2.5 pages)

Existentialism Essay

- Existentialism 'Existence precedes essence'. These are the few words that many people live by. These words describe a philosophy called Existentialism. The philosophical term, Existentialism, came from Jean Paul Sartre, a French philosopher. Jean Paul Sartre wrote 'No Exit', where he portrayed his philosophy negatively. On the other hand, Albert Camus, who wrote The Stranger, portrayed Existentialism positively through his characters. Each author uses the characteristics of Existentialism positively or negatively to define their own story as well as their characters as true Existentialists or not      Existentialism has been described as a philosophical movement especially of the 20th cent...   [tags: Philosophy Sartre Existentialist Essays]

Free Essays
1272 words (3.6 pages)

Existentialism Essay

- “The world is, of course, nothing but our conception of it.” This quote, by Anton Chekhov, seems obvious and easy to relate to. However, it perfectly describes the concept of existentialism, which is neither obvious nor relatable. Existentialism is “a modern philosophical movement stressing the importance of personal experience and responsibility and the demands that they make on the individual, who is seen as a free agent in a deterministic and seemingly meaningless universe” (“Existentialism”)....   [tags: Philosophy ]

Strong Essays
2350 words (6.7 pages)

Existentialism Essay

- Rarely in this world does something turn out as an objective or even partially objective matter. One must always assume some set of axioms as true. In math, sixteen axioms exist for one to properly utilize and prove things with merely real numbers, one of the first and simplest tools in a person’s arsenal. Most of these aren’t that hard to agree with, like “for all x and y in the set R, x + y = y + x,” but other principles and ideas contain much more controversial assumptions such as, “God exists.” Within this world, the only truth one can believe resides as one’s consciousness....   [tags: Philosophy]

Strong Essays
1031 words (2.9 pages)