Absurdism and Existentialism Essay

Submitted By chocomaro
Words: 1283
Pages: 6

Forl 100W
February 22nd, 2015
Absurdism and Existentialism Existentialism is a philosophy that consists of many factors such as the freedom to make one’s choice without the necessity of consent, the way to find one’s self and to find the meaning of life. An existentialist believes one has the free will to discover who they are and what they want to become in life. Existentialists take responsible for their actions and accept the consequence that comes with their choices. However, on the contrary, a theme that branches out of existentialism is Absurdism. Absurdism is a contradictory of existentialism in which human beings struggle to find any meaning in life in such an irrational world. The meaning of life is nonexistent to an absurd world as it is considered “humanly impossible” to find any meaning at all. Absurdism defeats the purpose of existentialism as there is no journey to search for the meaning of life in an absurd world. With that being said, the philosophical themes of Absurdism and Existentialism can be seen throughout the novel, The Stranger, to show the true nature of humanity and Merusault’s perspective of meaningless life. A common used theme that appears throughout the novel is death. An existentialist learns to accept the concept of death easily. In the opening of the novel, it is shown that Merusault have accepted his mother’s death nonchalantly: Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: “Mother decreased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.” That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday. (Camus, 1)
The novel introduces one of Merusault’s essential character traits which are emotional indifference. He does not express any grief or remorse upon his mother’s death. He acted as the day of his mother’s funeral was similar to any other day. His mother’s funeral seems so trivial to him. He goes to the funeral in a very straightforward demeanor. He does not want to see his mother’s body and ordered to bury the coffin immediately. When he stated, “That does mean anything.” (Camus, 1) this indicates how indifference he feels for his mother and how his mother’s death does not matter to him at all. This also implies the idea of meaningless in human existence to him and the idea of how he is able to easily accept death. Furthermore, the conversation between Merusault and the nurse emphasizes the acceptance of death: I don’t remember any of it anymore. Except for one thing: as we entered the village, the nurse spoke to me. She had a remarkable voice which didn’t go with her face at all, a melodious, quavering voice. She said, “If you go slowly, you risk getting sunstroke. But if you go too fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church.” She was right. There was no way out. (Camus. 17)
During the entire day, it was not his mother’s death or the people who attended the funeral that he remembered, but a specific conversation that further indicates his indifference towards his mother’s death. In a literal way, the nurse’s words can be interpreted as a description of the weather. For instance, it could mean the heat is unbearable and a discomfort to them. But, when Merusault states, “There was no way out,” it indicates a deeper indication of the nurse’s words. Merusault discovers that the nurse was describing the human condition. When one is born into this world, the only thing that can end one’s life is death. The effects of the sun are compared to death. Death is inevitable. Life cannot be avoided from death and living. Death is inescapable as it can happen at any time in one’s life. During the beach encounter between Meursault and the Arab, the Arab pulls out his knife and holds it towards Meursault. Meursault did not feel afraid or threaten by the Arab’s gesture rather he was more bothered by the intensity of the Sun. “The scorching blade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes.” (Camus, 59) He shot the Arab due to the