"The Outsider".

Essay by YMW99High School, 12th gradeA, May 2003

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Introduction: In Camus' novel The Outsider, every theme and issue that is present is under-pinned by the writer's exploration of the philosophy of the absurd. The "absurd" idea that the world holds no meaning, but consists of a series of occurrences because of a coincidental mix of illogical events, and the irrational actions of men, which hold no deeper meaning that what we can physically sense from each situation. A very long sentence but an excellent observation. This philosophy is heavy ? explored though the theme of death and justice, through various dialogues and the actions of the protagonist within the novel.

Set in the conservative society of 1940s Algeria, Meursault, the protagonist, is faced with dealing with death and it is in his reactions towards death that we see Camus' exploration of the absurd. At his mother's death, Meursault is not remorseful, or sad at her passing.

Right just the opposite in fact, after her vigil he almost begrudges her passing because " It was going to be a beautiful day (the day of her funeral)...I'd (Meursault) have enjoyed going for a walk if it hadn't been for mother.". When Meursault caused the death of the Arab it is a random act of madness and as such he does not feel guilt or shame for the killing, as he says "rather than true regret, I (Meursault) felt a kind of annoyance." Then before his own death Meursault is actually relieved that the date for his death is known. As Meursault explains " I'd (Meursault) felt feel ? my heart give this terrifying leap at the thought of having another twenty years to live." It is though these reactions of indifference and what could be perceived as cold heartedness towards these...