Redemption in David Adams Richards' "Mercy among the Children" and Albert Camus' "The Outsider"

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Redemption in David Adams Richards Mercy among the Children and Albert Camus

The Outsider

The essential meaning of human redemption is to free oneself from sin and to find goodness in one's own nature. The novels, Mercy among the Children by David Adams Richards and The Outsider by Albert Camus, both explore the notion of human redemption. Sydney Henderson, the protagonist of Mercy among the Children, dedicates his life to the faith in God in hope of salvation. While Meursault, the main character of The Outsider, seeks redemption in an individual indifference to society and a belief that human life is worthless. Both Sydney Henderson and Meursault are redeemed when the truth about their lives is ultimately realized.

Meursault is living his entire life without any kind of redeeming meaning. He is emotionally detached from the world and assigns no essential purpose to human existence, "What did other people's deaths or a mother's love matter to me, what did God or the lives people chose or the destinies they selected matter to me, when one and the same destiny was to select me and thousands of millions of other privileged people…" (Camus 115-116).

Because Meursault is deeply convinced of the certainty of human death, he is indifferent to human life. Once Meursault is condemned to death, his thinking begins to deepen, "What interested me [Meursault] at the moment is trying to escape from the mechanism, trying to find if there's any way out of the inevitable… there was nothing to permit me such a luxury…I was caught up in the mechanism…" (104-105). Meursault recognizes the fact that once he is sentenced, society will not give him a second chance. To the world, Meursault is simply a criminal, as a result, people do...