An Analysis of the Absurd by Albert Camus
Albert Camus, the creator behind the theory of “The Absurd”, is a man of unique views. Being raised in a time of controversy and new ideas, Camus quickly was wrapped up by secular views. Camus’ belief states that human life has no meaning because in the end there is death, and nothing is of worth or meaning after death. The author has written many novels and essays based on his standpoints. No conviction in higher beings has led Camus to portray characters in his novels, of them being The Stranger, to seem to possess the same characteristics as himself. Nevertheless, after research it is concluded that because of his biased writing style, Albert Camus has once again portrayed the protagonist, Meursault, to be a follower in the belief of The Absurd. Because of this one significant similarity, as well as other minor correlations, Albert Camus accurately portrays his life in the novel The Stranger. The book takes place in Algeria slightly before World War II. It is a coincidence that Camus also lived in Algeria pre-World War II before he moved to France to work for the Combat Resistance Network. Meursault resides near to a coast, where he likes to take walks and swim for pleasure, similar to the author who grew up on the sunny coast of Algeria In the book The Stranger, Meursault, the protagonist, receives news of his mother’s death. Assumed is the fact that his father is no longer living as well. It seems that he feels a burden of having to grieve over the death, not to be confused with a loss. His mother was seen as worthless, and so he had put her in a home, soon after to forget about her. Meursault is inconvenienced at his workplace because of this meaningless ending to a life. He has no beliefs in supernatural beings and the afterlife, and so he feels no need to remorse over ones death. When he arrives at the home where her body is, the other participants in the burial rituals notice the son of the deceased undisturbed by the events. He seemed as if it was not necessary to participate in the ceremony, which will later be twisted into a conjecture that he is an inhuman monster.
In Camus’ life, his mother and grandmother look after him. His father was never part of his life, as so it seems for Meursault in the book, due to the fact that he died when Albert was a year old. Camus’ mother was a Spanish housewife who was illiterate and partially deaf. She later moved in with her mother, Albert’s grandmother, in order to raise Albert and his siblings. Albert viewed her as pitiful, and because of his lack of feelings of attachment for her he later could “understand her unhappiness”. The home in the novel symbolizes the removal of Camus’ mother from his life, and her dependence on someone else. Both Camus and his protagonist observe The Absurd theory, which is not widely accepted at their times. People frown upon them for their beliefs, or lack of beliefs. Meursault, after the funeral processions, returns home to his daily routine. He is part of the lower French-Algerian working class that competes with the Arabs for jobs. There is hostility between the two groups. Meursault has a job as a clerk in an office. Soon after he arrives back into town, he visits Marie, a woman who he works with that has been previously interested in him. They spend a delightful afternoon together at the public beach swimming, watching a comedy movie, and wind up participating in casual sex. People frown upon this because he has no moral values, and he is enjoying himself during a time when one would still be mourning. This experience represents Albert’s adult life. He believed in hard work, because there was no excuses for failure because man relies on himself rather than on a higher being. Camus constantly held jobs to keep busy and to be successful. He wrote for newspapers and created plays. He once composed an essay on the state of the Arab Muslims in Algeria, which caused him to loose his job and move to Paris. He was involved with the different social classes because he was raised in a lower working class, similar to the on in which Meursault is in, while commentating on others. The protagonist’s interest in Marie represents Albert’s numerous relationships. He was twice married, and once divorced.