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What is life for? Different religions have different takes on life. There are many ways to view life. The way life is viewed by an individual is the way his morals are set. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and many other religions believe that a higher god sets morals and with the morals comes reward. Another camp, the existentialist, believes that life is absurd and meaningless. The existentialists believe humans live and humans die. They state that death is just a matter of time for everyone, a reality that is inescapable. In the novel The Stranger by Albert Camus, Meursault realizes that death is a subject that cannot be erased. Meursault comes to the conclusion that death is the end result for every human's life.
The nurse tells Meursault how the weather affects the human body. "She says, `If you go to slowly, you risk getting sunstroke. But if you go to fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church'"(17). The heat's effect is inevitable. No matter the pace, the weather is still an influence in the human body. Meursault realizes this and responds with " She was right. There was no way out" (17). Most people have a problem with destiny. They have been raised to be in control of their circumstances or their decisions. Therefore, the average person has a hard time coming to the realization that the inevitable will happen.
Meursault kills an Arab. He is convicted for the murder. While in the courtroom Meursault is asked why he killed the Arab. The only response Meursault could give them was the sun. Meursault said, "I never intended to kill the Arab" (102). The judge replies and Meursault "blurted out that it was because of the sun" (103). Meursault did tell the truth, the sun did affect his judgment. Camus writes, "The sun was starting to burn my cheeks...it was burning, which I couldn't stand anymore, that made me move forward" (58-59). The Arab gets up and shows his knife. Because of the sun he is blinded in two ways. The first reason was because of the sweat in his eye. The second reason was because the knife was reflecting the light into Meursault's eyes.
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Meursault is convicted and sentenced for the murder. Meursault's sentence was death. The inevitable was occurring. Except this time the inescapable had now been give a time. Meursault faced with the reality of death makes a statement. "Well, so I'm going to die.' Sooner than other people will, obviously...deep down I know perfectly will that it doesn't much matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy, since in either case other men and women will naturally go in living" (114). With this reality Meursault reflects on the meaning of life.
Just like the sun, death is inevitable. Faced with the conclusion that humans die, Meursault releases everything on the chaplain. Meursault states that he "sure about me, about everything, surer than he could ever be, sure of my life and sure of the death I had waiting for me" (120). He goes on and realizes the human privilege. "I had been right, I was still right I was always right. I had lived my life one way and I could just as well have lived it another...what did other people's death or a mother's live matter to me; what id his God or he lives people choose or the fate they think they elect matter to me when we're all elected by the same fate...what would it matter if he were accused of murder and then executed because he didn't cry at his mother's funeral?" (121).
Through Meursault, Camus shows the absurdity of life. He shows the endless cycles of birth and death. Meursault was able to rest with him knowing when he was going to die. But he had no reason to live. His life was wasted. From his decisions he never fully lived. Not until right before his death did he really live. There are many reasons to live; finding the reason that fits with your life is the hard part.