Albert Camus(A) Essay, Research Paper
ALBERT CAMUSCamus was a French novelist, essayist, and dramatist. He is regarded asone of the finest philosophical writers of modern France. His work ispowerful, and he uses a concise style. His style of writing is the basis”of the post-World War II philosophy of the futility and meaninglessness ofhuman life, but at the same time it reveals a more hopeful outlook.” Camuswas born in Mondovi (now Drean), Algeria, on November 7, 1913. He waseducated at the University of Algiers. Camus established an amateurtheater to bring drama to working-class audiences; he also worked as ajournalist. During World War II he was with the French Resistance and wasthe editor of Combat, an underground paper, from 1945 to 1947. Albert Camus had a reputation as a philosopher because of his deep insighton the concept of life and death. He did not like this label put on him bythe “over-zealous” literary critics. Camus however wrote about the painof life and it’s silliness. Throughout his life he could not halt hisdetermination to writing pessimistic writings. Camus admitted to hispessimistic views and said that the problem with society is not one’sacceptance of cruelty but there “assent”2 to it. He refused to do this.Camus’ central idea was to give man his deserved credit regardless of theredisrespects on him. He realized the fate of man, but did not let it affectthe little value that he can receive from this “valueless world.”2 Camus’was concerned with life and death, with the people that lived and died. Hewas not concerned with the philosophy. This view towards life and deathprobably originated from his father’s death in the “first battle of theMarne in September 1914″2, 8 months after Camus was born. This wasprobably the source of Camus’ existentialist beliefs and writings. Though Camus had many pessimistic views, he rejoiced life and broughtattention on to the importance of it. In his writings he expresses this inan aim pointing towards his personal beliefs. His first writing La Mort Heurase was based on the celebration of life. Inthis story a hero by the name of Meursault wishes to avoid the dishonor ofa ‘natural death.’ Meursault believes that a natural death is the death ofa spirit in which the body still lives. On in the story Meursault plansthe death of his mentor Zagreus. In this face-off between the crippledZagreus and Meursault, Zagreus states, ‘I shall never make the slightestmove to shorten a life in which I believe so deeply. I would accept to beeven worse off, blind, dumb, anything you like, providing only that I couldfeel in my belly that dark, ardent flame which is me and me alive.’ Thisstatement by Zagreus so heavily depicts Camus’ personality. The knowledgethat one may be crippled (crippled by the world and it’s pain) and loveslife so much is typical of Camus and his life. In the novel L’Etranger or the Stranger Camus speaks for all those whocannot speak. He writes about a man who was living a simple and innocentlife. He shows how life gradually surrounded him and devastated him. Thisstory starts off with the death of Meursault’s mother. He does not weep ather funeral. Later on his neighbor, a pimp called Raymond Masson is having
trouble with a former mistress, an Arab girl, and is being pursued by twoArab men who want to avenge her treatment. Later when Meursault, the Arabgirl, and Masson run into the Arab men they have a fight and it ends up inthe death of the Arab Men. Meursault is arrested, convicted of murder, andsentenced to death.This closing in on Meursault by his environment shows how a man who isdefending the honor of his friend is himself penalized by society. He issubject to injustice for his actions and pays his life for this. Thoughthis is ironic that his friend lived and he died, Meursault isunderstanding of his death and understands clearly how society functions. Camus tries to pass along a theme to his reader that a person does not knowthe value of life until he/she is about to lose it. They are blind tolife’s gifts. “Meursault’s awareness of life is severely limited. He isaffected by a profoundly apathetic ennui, which makes him uncommonlysensitive to the dullness and monotony of existence. Though he does not sayso, the reader feels that he sees very little point in life, but merelycarries on for want of anything better to do. He sleeps, eats, works, allwithout enthusiasm, and observes with detachment the mechanical gestureswith which people fill their lives. He sees around him nothing but sterileroutine. The people who form the decor to the story, and these includeMeursault himself, do not wonder, question, or think. Both inwardly andoutwardly, their existence is dominated by habit.” Camus similarly wrote about the boredom of life by his character in theboth The Stranger and in La Mort Heureuse. He warns the reader thateveryday actions should be more profoundly rejoiced and that life shouldnot be a routine task.Camus’ style of writing matches the theme. He uses a style of writingwhich was considered invisible, because it contained detail that washidden. “The flat, impersonal style is perfectly matched to thesubject-matter, the austere simplicity of the narrative effectively checksany imaginative leap the reader might be tempted to make. Adjectives areused sparingly, and though the tale is told in the first person, itachieves such total objectivity as to give the impression of an impartialaccount.” The literary themes and the technique of writing gives Camus stories asense of realism and a credibility. The more believable a story line, themore significanct the story is to the reader. It makes the reader remainfaithful to the idea. These themes that stick with the reader are usuallyexistential themes, that explore an individual in a harsh world, give thereader a sense of optimism that keeps them content with there life. Thereaders are content with there life because the author gives them a windowinto there future, which is the end of life. He simply states that oneshould enjoy his/her life. This is why Albert Camus is one of the mostrenowned writer’s of modern and world literature. His books arerepresentative of his life and the fate of every man’s life. Bibliography1. Masters, Brian, Camus : A Study, Heinemann, London, 1974. 2. “Camus, Albert,” Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1994 MicrosoftCorporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnall’s Corporation. Camus, Albert, The Stranger, Alfred A. Knopf, N. Y. 1946.