Choice and Individual Freedom in The Stranger (The Outsider)

Choice and Individual Freedom in The Stranger (The Outsider)

Length: 442 words (1.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Choice and Individual Freedom in The Stranger


      Camus's The Stranger is a grim profession that choice and individual

freedom are integral components of human nature, and the commitment and

responsibility that accompany these elements are ultimately the deciding factors

of the morality of one's existence.  Meursault is placed in an indifferent world,

a world that embraces absurdity and persecutes reason; such is the nature of

existentialist belief, that rationalization and logic are ultimately the essence

of humanity, and that societal premonitions and an irrelevant status quo serve

only to perpetuate a false sense of truth.


      Meursault's virtue, as well as his undoing, lies in his unique tendency

to choose, and thereby exist, without computing objective standards or universal

sentiment.  His  stoic, de facto existentialism is a catalyst for endless

conflict between his rationalization- and logic-based existence and that of

others, which focuses on an objective subscription to "the norm" ; such is

evident in heated discussions with the magistrate and prison minister, who are

seen as paragons of invalid logic and the quixotic, quasi-passionate pursuit of

hackneyed conformity.


      No windmills are slain1 in this simulated existence; absurdity of a

different ilk dominates the popular mentality, one which would alienate a man

based on his perceived indifference towards the mundane, and try, convict, and

execute a man based on his lack of purported empathy towards the irrelevant.

Attention to the trial sequence will reveal that the key elements of the

conviction had little to do with the actual crime Meursault had committed, but

rather  the "unspeakable atrocities" he had committed while in mourning of his

mother's death, which consisted of smoking a cigarette, drinking a cup of coffee,

and failing to cry or appear sufficiently distraught.  Indeed, the deformed

misconception of moral truth which the jury [society] seeks is based on a

detached, objective observation of right or wrong, thereby misrepresenting the

ideals of justice by failing to recognize that personal freedom and choice are

"...the essence of individual existence and the deciding factor of one's



      The execution of Meursault at the close of the novel symbolically brings

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Choice and Individual Freedom in The Stranger (The Outsider)." 17 Nov 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about The Stranger

- The Stranger In the book "The Stranger," the main character, Meursault, is a stranger to himself, and to life. Meursault is a person who is emotionally and physically detached from the world. He seemingly cares only about himself, but at the same time could be concerned little about what happens to him. The title, "the Stranger," could indicate Meursault's disconnection and indifference to the world that surrounds him and, therefore, his role as a stranger in the book. The title could also imply that he is simply a stranger to experiencing emotion and expressing feeling: that he is detached from himself and doesn't know what it means to be a human....   [tags: English Literature Essays]

Research Papers
1285 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on The Idea of Existentialism in The Stranger

- Existentialism is defined as "a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining his or her own development through acts of the will”. In other words, existentialism it emphasizes individual freedom. Throughout The Stranger, the amount of existentialism views is abundant. The use of Mersault’s experiences covey the idea that human life has no meaning except for simple existence. The idea of existentialism in Albert Camus' The Stranger reflects through Mersault's life experiences with his relationship with Marie, the death of his mother Maman, the murdering of the Arab, and Mersault's trial and execution, all t...   [tags: Literary Analysis, Albert Camus]

Free Essays
965 words (2.8 pages)

Absurdism, The Stranger, and Life Essay

- Absurdism, The Stranger, and life “Absurdism” (coined by Albert Camus) is a philosophy based upon the concept that the life and the world are meaningless, irrational, without sense or reason. And any effort we make to try to find meaning in them will ultimately fail. Albert Camus considers absurdity to be a fight, a force pushing between our mind’s desire to have meaning and understanding and the blank empty world beyond. In argument with Nagel, Camus stated “I said that the world is absurd, but I was too hasty....   [tags: Albert Camus novel analysis]

Research Papers
587 words (1.7 pages)

The Controlling Nature of Systems as Illustrated in Albert Camus’ The Stranger

- A reoccurring idea that can be found in Albert Camus’ The Stranger is the philosophy of existentialism. One particular ideal that existentialism possesses is the idea that systems are absurd. Societies establish them as a foundation on which it can base its morals and beliefs, but these systems ultimately prove themselves to be useless to the individuals within that society. This is due to the controlling nature of systems, which inhibits more than helps members of societies. Camus comments on this idea through his utilization of dialogue, characterization, and historical context, and further explores this existential concept in relation to the societal institutions of religion, government,...   [tags: beliefs, religion, government, control, dominance]

Research Papers
1284 words (3.7 pages)

The Fate Of Free Choice Essay

- In Greek mythology, humans are often times portrayed as merely pieces of a board game played by the gods. Fate plays an essential role in Antigone and Oedipus Rex, where it unfolds and leads to the tragedy of these characters. Although both tragedies unravel the destinies of the characters, fate and free play different roles in each poem. However, despite superficial differences between the plots, there is the irony of the futility of free choice present in both poems. These characters use personal initiatives in attempt to alter their tragedies, yet that ‘freedom’ of action is ultimately driven by fate....   [tags: Sophocles, Oedipus, Greek mythology, Jocasta]

Research Papers
780 words (2.2 pages)

Looking at the Character of Meursault in The Stranger by Camus Essay

- Looking at the Character of Meursault in The Stranger by Camus In Camus’s “The Stranger” I will be discussing how the character Meursault utilizes all of the six existential themes: Freedom, Contingency, Individuality, Existence, Reflection, and Passion. I will also address how Meursault utilizes the existential givens of existence: Death, Freedom, Existential Isolation, and Meaning/Meaninglessness. I will then go on to discuss Meursault’s responsibility (guilt) throughout the novel. Finally I will discuss the interaction between Meursault and the Chaplain and it’s significance....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1061 words (3 pages)

How do both The Stranger by Albert Camus and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen explore free will?

- From the very first line of Albert Camus’ The Stranger, “Maman died today,” (Camus 3) the quirky character of Meursault is shown to be different. The same holds true with Henrik Ibsen’s classic play, A Doll’s House, concerning Nora, a mother who abandons her family in order to pursue her own happiness. Both characters, while set in opposing societies, exhibit similar characteristics: a courageous, if not reckless, pursuit of happiness, be it physical in the case of Meursault or mental for Nora, and the relentless disregard of social standards and norms in the chase for free will....   [tags: Literature]

Research Papers
1644 words (4.7 pages)

Women's Right and Abortion Essay

- Before women had rights to decide whether they could keep their baby, some states didn’t allow abortion, therefore requiring women to give birth to their child. In today’s current issues, abortion is still a controversial subject with millions of people supporting it or not supporting it. Every woman has the right to make changes to her own physical body, and those rights should not be taken away, according to the constitution. In the very famous case in 1973, “Roe v. Wade”, the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion throughout the first trimester of pregnancy....   [tags: constitution, rights, freedom]

Research Papers
1134 words (3.2 pages)

Has Culture Enhanced or Hindered my Freedom of Choice Essay

- How has my culture enhanced or hindered my freedom of choice. First I ask myself “What is culture to me?”. My definition of culture would be common thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are carried from one generation to the next. Then I ask “What is freedom of choice?” When I think of the expression “freedom of choice”, I think of an individual going through life making choices as they please. I, being that individual, do make my own choices but the more I think about it the more I realize that the choices I make are actually influenced by many factors in my life....   [tags: culture, choice, ]

Research Papers
714 words (2 pages)

Free Essays on The Stranger (The Outsider): Freedom and Death

- Freedom and Death in The Stranger (The Outsider) In The Stranger (The Outsider), as in all Camus’ works, Camus’ views on freedom and death – one dependent on the other – are major themes. For Camus, freedom arises in awareness of one’s life, the every-moment life, an intense glorious life that needs no redeeming, no regrets, no tears. Death is unjustifiable, absurd; it is but a reintegration into the cosmos for a “free” man. Until a person reaches this awareness, life, like death, is absurd, and indeed, generically, life remains absurd, though each individual’s life can be valuable and meaningful to him....   [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]

Free Essays
1034 words (3 pages)

Related Searches

forth outpourings of emotion, as Meursault confronts his nothingness and the

impossibility of justifying the [immoral] choices he has made; he realizes the

pure contingency of his life, and that he has voided, in essence, his own

existence by failing to accept the risk and responsibility that the personal

freedom of an existentialist reality entails.




1  From Don  Quixote (1605, trans. 1612), a satirical Spanish novel by Miguel de

Cervantes Saavedra.


2  Soren Kierkegaard, Nineteenth-century Danish philosopher, on "Moral

Individualism and Truth."

Return to