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Existence Perceive Essence - Research Paper Example

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The question of what is the essence of human existence has got many answers offered by different philosophers, writers, scientists, psychologists, etc. However, no one knows which answer is correct, if there is any at all. The aim of the paper is to analyze three different existential literary works, namely, Albert Camus’s The Stranger, Christopher Hitchens’s Letters to a Young Contrarian, and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. These three authors have different writing styles. Moreover, the periods they lived or live are different and, hence, their world-views and philosophical interpretation of the purpose of human existence differ too. However, these three authors have one characteristic in common, which is the fact that they are existentialists. Everyone as Potential Stranger to Society: Interpretive Analysis of Camus’s The Stranger Albert Camus’s The Stranger (L’Etranger) was written in 1938 and published in 1942. Meursault, an anti-hero, often has to make choices. This fact is very important in the idea of existentialism. Meursault does not have a set of values a normal human being has. He does not believe in God. Furthermore, murdering of a person without any motive for that shows him as some abnormal creature. Even though he gets a life sentence for his crime, he accepts it as some form of “the benign indifference of the universe” (Camus 96). Paradoxically, in one of his essays Camus speaks of his novel The Stranger as of a “story of a man who, without any heroics, agrees to die for the truth” (qtd. in Scherr 187). Analyzing life path of the author himself, the explanation to the existentialist outlook can be found in the life hardships, unbearable poverty, WWII experience, as well as the horrors of the Nazi’s regime Camus had to go through during his life. Negative perception of reality and pessimistic mood of his works represent the logical outcome of author’s life difficulties. At the same time, however, the author was hoping for the better and never let despair take over him. His creativity and writing skills were directed onto fighting human indifference in defense of human dignity and justice. Camus’s The Stranger is a bright example of quality fiction writing and the depth of his philosophical reflection upon real life. The novel The Stranger is an existential novel with elements of realism, the absurd and even transcendentalism to some extent. Moreover, it has been claimed that the literature streams of existentialism and the absurd overlap in the novel (Baker 8). Some of the ideas expressed in The Stranger are clearly existential. However, according to Baker, even though Camus himself claimed not to be an existentialist, he experimented with different genres of literature, like many great writers did; he grew up in the same ideological climate as, for instance, Nietzsche and Kafka, and existential ideas are present in his works, including The Stranger (53). Even though one of the major themes of Camus’s The Stranger is irrationality and purposeless existence of the universe and a human being, the writer was a great moralist, because his attitude to life and morality of human deeds were never uninteresting to the writer. People engage in futile attempts to find meaning of their life. There is no rational order either in Meursault’s own life or in the lives of people surrounding him. The main character has no ...Show more


Existence Perceive Essence Introduction Purposefulness of human existence, an interdependence between a human being and a god, role of destiny in the perpetual flow of events, connections between a society and an individual, existence of human soul and superpower have always been themes of great interest to people…
Author : ericka43
Existence Perceive Essence
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