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Existentialism Essay Research Paper In the stranger

Existentialism Essay, Research Paper In the stranger, Camus uses Mersaults’ experiences such as his mothers’ death, killing the Arab, the trial, and his interaction with other characters

Existentialism Essay, Research Paper

In the stranger, Camus uses Mersaults’ experiences such as his mothers’ death,

killing the Arab, the trial, and his interaction with other characters

throughout the novel to convey his philosophy, which satisfies all principals of

existentialism. The existentialism idle proposes that man is full of anxiety and

despair with no meaning in his life, just simple existing, until he’s made a

decisive being. To convey his existentialism philosophy, Camus use the death of

Mersaults’, mother in the beginning of the novel. On the first page, Mersault is

more concerned about the time of his mothers’ death, and not the fact that he

had recently lost a loved one. This shows that Mersault felt that there is no

reason to mourn for his mothers’ death, and also conveys the existentialist idea

that reason is powerless to the idea with the depths of human life. The fact

that Mersault shows no compassion ultimately conveys Camus’ philosophy. Also, at

Mersaults’ mothers funeral Mersault does not cry or behave the way that society

expects him to act. This is because Mersault is an existentialist, and does not

act in the appropriate manner in which society expects, which makes him a

stranger from the people around him. The murder of the Arab is clearly the

central event of the novel, therefore, Camus placed it right in the middle of

the book. This violent crime interrupts the routine of the story. It is the last

incident recounted in part one, so its importance is underscored by a structural

break in the story. It is related in one of the longer chapters, which records

in fine detail the events of the day, even when their relevance is not an

obvious for example, several paragraphs are devoted to describing how Marie and

Mersault frolic in the sea. The murder marks an obvious change in Mersaults’

life, from free man to prisoner, and more subtle associated changes, such as his

increasing introspection and concern with memory. Mersault himself describes the

shooting in terms that emphasize both the destruction of a past and the start of

something new: "and there, in that noise, sharp and deafening at the same

time, is where ?it all started’ I shook off the sweat and the sun. I know that

I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exception silence of a beach where

I’d been happy."(pg. 59) Until the murder, nothing very dramatic has

happened and nothing dramatic seems likely to happen. Partly, of course, this

air of normality results from the way Mersault tells the story. His mothers’

death could have been a momentous event, but he begins the novel with the

statement: "Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know".(pg.

1) The tone and the uncertainty combine to make us feel that this is not a

significant event. Mersault agreeing to marry Marie, could have been presented

as a turning point in his life; however he relates their engagement as if it

were a routine decision: "That evening Marie came by to see me and asked me

if I wanted to marry her. I said it didn’t make much difference to me and that

we could if she wanted to" Mersault expresses very much the same attitude

toward the murder as he has previously; his actions have no conscious motives.

In the event leading up to the point when Mersault kills the Arab, the heat,

sun, and the light begins to affect him more and more, at which point his

sensual feeling overwhelms him and causes him to pull the trigger and kill the

Arab. I was walking slowly towards the rocks and I could feel my forehead

swelling under the sun. All that heat was pressing down on me and making it hard

for me to go on… But the whole beach, throbbing in the sun, was pressing on my

back…The sun was the same as it had been the day I’d buried Maman, and like

then, my forehead especially was hurting me. ( pg. 57-58) This part of the novel

shows how Mersault is a stranger from nature, in the way that for the first time

the sun and his sensual pleasures begin to act against him, and cause him to

lose control. During the trial, Camus begins to ridicule the legal system, and

make apparent the fact that Mersault is truly an outsider. Camus does this by

making Mersault feel out of place at has trial; also by showing that Mersaults’

case is rushed, due to the fact that there is an exciting parricide case next.

All throughout the trial the prosecutors try to make a case that, because

Mersault did not cry at his mothers’ funeral, he was guilty. The distortion is

that society believes that if you don’t cry or show grief in some outward way,

you have no soul. The prosecutor in his closing arguments says that: But here in

the wholly negative virtue of tolerance must give way to the sterner but loftier

virtue of justice. Especially when emptiness of a man’s heart becomes, as we

find it has in this man, an abyss threatening to swallow up society. (Pg.101) As

if to say that the murder of the Arab was a direct result of the fact that he

did not cry at his mothers’ funeral. Society has distorted the facts of the

case, he is actually being tried for the fact that he did not cry at his

mothers’ funeral rather than the actual crime at hand. This reveals Camus’

philosophy by making Mersault a stranger from society, and the legal system.

During the time in which Mersault is imprisoned, he begins to feel as though he

is unable to accept death and wants to escape the inevitable. This is how Camus

uses Mersault to explain other principles of existentialism, which is fear,

anxiety, and angst. The reason that Mersault feels this way is that he’s denied

everything in prison and has nothing to deal with but himself, which makes him

able to consider what is doing to happen to him. In the novel, Mersault deals

with people such as his friends or acquaintances that were not readily accepted

in the society of that time. When Salomano comes to talk to Mersault about his

dog, instead of being compassionate and consoling the old man, Mersault tells

him that the pound keeps the dogs for a few days until it is put down. This

shows that Mersault feels no reason to lie to Salamano or tell him something to

comfort him; Mersault does not feel pity for the old man. This is also an

existentialist viewpoint in the way that Mersault has no need to conform to

society how most people would. In conclusion, Camus writes the novel in order to

explain the absurdities of life, with the actions of Mersault to portray his

existentialist beliefs. By showing that Mersault goes against everything that is

defined as appropriate in society, Camus has managed to do well enough that one

who did not have much knowledge about existentialist may gain an insight of what

it is, and the belief that an existentialist has.

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