Essay #1

Essay #1 - Joseph Dombrosky ARLT 100g/35224D: Culture,...

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Joseph Dombrosky ARLT 100g/35224D: Culture, Conformity, Revolt David Rollo “Portrait of a Man When Faced with the Absurd” An analysis of Camus’ The Stranger Different philosophies have attempted to explain human life and its meaning for thousands of years. Albert Camus, a French writer, attempted to expand on his philosophy of the absurd through literature. In his novel, The Stanger , Camus explored what he termed “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.” This exploration not only gives insight and, more importantly, clarification of the absurd, but forces the reader into direct contact with the philosophy. While The Stranger forces us to confront the idea of the absurd, the reflections of the main character, Meursault, during his imprisonment provide a medium for Camus to present reasoning against misinterpretation of his philosophy. The Stranger tells the story of a man who commits a senseless murder on an Algerian beach. This man, Meursault, is seemingly devoid of conventional emotion and holds a certain attitude of indifference throughout the novel. He is driven by life’s physical pleasures and doesn’t show the expected expressive reactions to certain events, such as his mother’s death. In fact, the opening of the novel: “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know,” immediately exposes the reader to what they should expect of Meursault as he continues the story, a type of conventional apathy. What is more important about Meursault as a character is how Camus uses him to elicit the idea of absurdity. The absurd is the desire that man has for understanding even though the limitations of his logic do not allow him to fulfill that desire.
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More specifically, human existence is absurd due to the dichotomy of a natural need for knowledge and an inability to attain that knowledge. [1] Meursault illustrates the absurd through his narration of The Stranger , which is done in such a way that the reader could construe multiple meanings. This structure creates a type of introduction for the reader to the idea of the absurd, as the actual meaning of the novel is beyond
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This essay was uploaded on 11/04/2007 for the course ARLT 100g taught by Professor 02:00-03:20pm during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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Essay #1 - Joseph Dombrosky ARLT 100g/35224D: Culture,...

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