This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Camus’ Exploration Of Existentialism Through Mersault’s Views And Thoughts On Life And Death, Throughout ‘The Outsider’

1817 words - 8 pages

The Outsider, written by Albert Camus, revolves around a protagonist - Mersault. The major theme the book explores is existentialism. According to Wikipedia, ‘Existentialism is a philosophical movement that views human existence as having a set of underlying themes and characteristics, such as anxiety, dread, freedom, and awareness of death. It is also an outlook, or a perspective, on life that pursues the question of the meaning of life or the meaning of existence.’ I am going to explore the change in Mersault’s perspective on life during his stay in prison. There are a lot of references to death in the book, as well - Mersault’s mother dies in the beginning, later on, Mersault ...view middle of the document...

When you step out of society, you would feel completely alone and isolated. Either way you lose out, yet you cannot avoid both of the outcomes. To stick with the physical world of society and the sun, or to escape through the spiritual world in the church, away from the sun, are the only choices available. As Mersault says ‘she was right, there is no way out.’ he too refers to the hidden meaning of the Sun, which is society. He claims that there is seemingly no way out of the oppression and conditioning of society on people. We can see this when Mersault is forced to murder the Arab, by the oppression of the Sun, later on in the novel. ‘The Sea swept ashore a great breath of fire. The sky seemed to be splitting from end to end and raining down sheets of rain. My whole being went tense’ Camus uses powerful vocabulary here to intensify the meaning of the sentence. Phrases such as ‘breath of fire’ ‘seemed to be splitting’ ‘sheets of rain’ ‘whole being went tense’ are all tools, creating clear and strong images of this rather powerful scene in the reader’s heads. Camus also uses personification of the sea, adding to the effect of this scene, as we in our heads picture the Sea breathing fire. All the factors of the sun‘s heat and light affecting Meursault send him into an uncontrollable frenzy. He could only think to shoot the Arab five times. Since the sun represents society, it can be argued that it was in fact society’s pressure on Mersault’s mind, at an unconscious level, that made him brutally commit the murder. Mersault’s thoughts on life were conditioned by society in such a way that he gave no meaning to it – he was not able see the calamity in murdering another man, thus he was able to pull the trigger, without thinking twice. This is Camus’ reference to existentialism, and that existentialism states life is simple, by chance, and meaningless.
Mersault is later put on trial for the murder. Mersault displays an emotionless and numb attitude during this time. He is asked whether he feels any remorse about his mother’s death- Mersault’s reflection on this is, ‘I probably loved mother quite a lot but that didn’t mean anything. To a certain extent all normal people sometimes wished their loved ones were dead.’ This not only shows his huge lack of remorse towards a loved one’s death, but total irrationality of thought according to society’s, so to say, ‘laws’ of thinking. The jury, being the representative of society, opposes Meursault and accuses him of not conforming to society's natural ways. They exclude him from society for his sincere demeanor, and for his manifestation of an inexpressive character. Mersault’s display of lack of emotion is linked with absurd reasoning, a reference to the meaninglessness of life. According to his insensitive attitude, Mersault thinks that life is meaningless, and does not particularly care for the death of a loved one, as we have seen.
As the trial...

Other Essays Like Camus’ Exploration of Existentialism Through Mersault’s Views and Thoughts on Life and Death, Throughout ‘the Outsider’

The Death Of A Star The Death Of Stars And What They Go Through And Can Become

415 words - 2 pages The life of a star depends on the stars mass. So the bigger they are the quicker they die. Opposite for smaller ones, the smaller the slower they die. Then the bigger the star the quicker it runs it's energy out.So in about 4 billion years the sun will exhaust all it's fuel. The Sun's core will collapse on itself, making a very large booming sound and wave of energy. But while the Sun uses it's energy the atmosphere will expand taking all the

"The Crucible"- Arther Miller "Selfish Love Of Abigail Williams." A Look Into Abigail Williams Life, And Thoughts

619 words - 3 pages goes around comes around. Thirteen innocent people were killed because of the girl's foolish actions nonetheless Abigail still didn't get what she sought.Vengeance, jealously, and greed surround the town of Salem. The witch trails are a prefect opportunity for Abigail's jealously to prevail itself, her adolescence anger to be released, and to observe how much influence she truthfully contains. Through Abigail's actions, we realize that a person should not base their complete life on one feeling of affection or envious emotion, because it could change their life and the life of others for the worse.

Compare and Contrast Two Social Science Views About the Ordering of Social Life

1595 words - 7 pages Compare and contrast two social science views about the ordering of social life. The way in which individuals form and maintain social lives with others and with the things around them is founded by social ordering; a concept defined as a set of linked social structures, social institutions and social practices which conserve, maintain and enforce ways of relating and behaving (Wikipedia, accessed on 25th June 2014). This essay will compare

A Comparison Between "The Myth Of Sisyphus" By Albert Camus And "One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich" By Alexander Solzhenitsyn

1103 words - 5 pages "The Myth of Sisyphus" and "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" present the criticism of society by using a writing style called existentialism. The Myth of Sisyphus and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich show existentialism in different ways using imagery, conflict, and mood. Existentialism is a 20th century philosophical movement, based on personal responsibility for acts, absence in the judgment of right and wrong, and individual


1014 words - 5 pages EXISTENTIALISM AND THE DECLINE OF RELIGION AT THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY During the 19th century, several ideas were developed about the decreasing power of religion and the meaning of life. These ideas were supported or rejected through numerous writings. Herman Melville's Billy Budd embraces God and the morals of Christianity while Mark Twain's Mysterious Stranger reflects and supports the ideas of existentialism and a decline in religion in

Functionalist and Interactionist Views on the "War on Drugs"

813 words - 4 pages First coined in June of 1971 by President Richard Nixon, the “War on Drugs” has actually been ongoing for over a century. Americans still, however, continue to use illicit/illegal drugs with no end in sight. Why is illegal drug use still such a widespread issue in American society despite government attempts to outlaw and punish drug users? Let us explore what reasons interactionist and functionalist theorists would give for the continued use of

Life, Death, and the Afterlife: King Tutankhamun

2423 words - 10 pages with life after death. The death mask was created to ensure that his spirit would be able to recognize his own body. The mask, pictured in Figure 3, was made up of gold inlaid with “semi-precious stone, colored glass paste and the eyes are made with obsidian and quartz; It weighed 24 lbs, measured 15cm in height and 15 inches in width” (1). Also depicted on the Discovery News website was the king’s throne chair, Figure 4, that was made for

Life and Death Reamagined

795 words - 4 pages Life and Death Reamagined Life and Death Reimagined Corey Hammonds ENG 125 Kristen McClure February 11, 2013 The literary work which captured my interest was “Used to Live Here Once” by Jean Rhys. In the short autobiography of Jean Rhys it states that she was used to being called a “white nigger” while growing up in the West Indies and that she was aware of mistreated and helpless females. It spoke how she often portrayed their needs

Life,Decisions and death

707 words - 3 pages every grip I make I feel an inch closer to death itself. The lion is in front of me I have no idea how am I going to pass through him I thought I might jump on top of him I tried and I find his paw clawing my chest as I fell down to be eaten by the snake. Lion=Death Rats=Night and day Elevator rope=Time Snake=Tomb The guy next to me=My choices Elevator Frame=Life What I’m trying to explain through this story is that you have to make good choices in life whether its day or night to make sure that when your time comes to an end you will be thankful for what you have done

Exploration Of Lewis And Clark

1119 words - 5 pages tribes to advance the American empire. (Miller)During their journey to the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark traveled through three different culture areas: the Plains, Plateau, and Northwest Coast. (Viola) Throughout their exploration, they encountered many different types of Indian tribes. Some of the Plains tribes they met were the Osage, Sioux, Cheyenne, Crow, and Mandan. The Plateau Indians were the Blackfeet, Flathead, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Spokane

The Influence, And Views Of Netanyahu On The Middle East Peace Plan

3423 words - 14 pages its an easy a exellent workThe Influence, and views of Netanyahu on the Middle East Peace PlanThe middle east has many problems trying to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The peace process started about four years ago with the Middle East countries. Through the process many people have had major influence on it. One person who might have one of the greatest influences of the peace agreement is Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin

Related Papers

"The Outsider" By Naguib Mahfouz And Albert Camus

953 words - 4 pages father and mother. The recurrence of Said's father when discussing the Sheikh shows how Said has come to view the Sheikh as a fatherly figure. Said, therefore, had once been part of a very happy family. Later on in Said's life, the family connection was cut and never again fixed. On the other hand, Mersault, the protagonist of The outsider, has very little or no attachment to his mother or father. His knowledge and thoughts about his parents are

Essay On Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): The Gentle Meursault

725 words - 3 pages The Gentle Meursault of Camus’s The Stranger (The Outsider) In Albert Camus’s The Stranger, Meursault, the protagonist, could be seen as immoral if he were judged on the basis of his actions alone. However, through Camus’s use of a first person narrative, we begin to understand Meursault as not an immoral man, but simply an indifferent one. Meursault is a symbol of the universe, and so in understanding him we understand that the universe is

Logical And Emotional Thoughts Of Life Using Examples Of The 25th Movie

3694 words - 15 pages unsavory people and that the men are long time criminals. However, on the way to this appointment, Monty spots a dog at the side of the road that has been beaten and tortured and left to die. In a small act of compassion, he asks his partner for his gun so that he can shoot the animal and put it out of its suffering. When Monty approaches the animal to complete this act, the dog lunges at him, indicating that he has much more life left in him than

Thoughts Of The Mind And Beyond

563 words - 3 pages A psychology essay can cover any aspect of the entire domain of scientific studies related to psycho-analysis. In the field of medicine, the segment of behavioral science is the main conceptual area of writing when it comes to these kinds of articles. If you are a student who is required to write an article based on behavior analysis, then you may need to make use of some simple instructions on how to present your arguments and claims