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Existentialism and Alienation

AP Literature assignment
by

Bailey Brogan

on 22 October 2012

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Transcript of Existentialism and Alienation

Existentialism: ALIENATION The concept that people experience the social distancing between the world and themselves Alienation: - From one self
= body
= feelings
-spirit Types of Alienation How does one fix their problem with being alienated ? Alienation = A Problem - human beings are "abandoned' by the world

= people feel senses of meaninglessness, powerlessness and normlessness

- a self belief that there is no purpose or meaning to life - From others
- lack of ability to form relationships - From the world
- people are molded by materialism
- one does not feel at home around their surroundings Negative solutions:
- Anxiety
- Guilt
- Despair Positive solutions:
- Live authentically Examples of Alienation in The Plague Paneloux - wishes to form intimate relationships, but can not and suffers from social isolation

"Meanwhile, however, he informed the doctor that he really knew very little about Cottard, but believed him to have private means in a small way. Cottard was a queer bird. For a long while their relations went no further than wishing each other good-day when they met on the stairs." (Camus)

- feels meaninglessness, he attempts to form human relationships with anybody. This leads to Cottard forming friendships with criminals, a negative way to deal with his alienation from people

-fails to achieve authenticity. Once the city is opened back up, Cottard slips back into isolation.

- Should we feel sorry about Cottard, the criminal? Why did Camus introduce us to Cottard immediately after his suicide attempt? Does Cottard's alienation reflect current society?



- Suffers from normlessness as people, including Paneloux, start to question God. It was not normal to question God, but when the plague strikes, everything changes. The majority of Oran turns from religion to superstition.

- Paneloux is alienated by his religion. When he is asked to speak on the matters of the plague, Paneloux condemns the city for deserving it.

"He had a strong, impassioned voice which carried a long way, so when he launched a single vehement and thundering attack on his listeners — 'My brethren, a calamity has befallen you; my brethren, you have deserved it' — a stir ran through the congregation as far as the west door." (Camus)
- Suffers powerlessness, as he can not return home. He goes to all lengths to arrange to get out of Oran, willing to delve into illegal rings just to break out.
"'But I don't belong here,' Rambert whines." (Camus)

- He alienates himself from people, only seeing his own problem with being in the plagued Oran while his wife is in Paris. Allows to be alienated by his selfishness.

- Rambert achieves authenticity when he puts aside his selfishness and remains in Oran to join anti-plague efforts. By not being concerned about himself, Rambert is no longer alienated from his peers.

- Does Rambert actually achieve authenticity, though? If he does, is it temporary? How has the plague affected his feelings for his wife's arrival?

- Alienation of love?
Rambert was “waiting in fear and trembling to confront this love or affection that the months of plague had reduced to an abstraction and to confront it with the flesh-and-blood being who had been his support through that time.” (Camus)
Meaninglessness Normlessness Powerlessness Experienced when someone realizes that future outcomes can not be made. A situation in which social norms are broken down and no longer effect individuals Experienced when someone can not seek the assurance of future outcomes or receive reinforcement Social Isolation The feeling of being segregated from society Existentialism. N.p.: University of Edinburgh, n.d. Web. 16 October 2012. Works Cited Sayers, Sean. "The Concept of Alienation in Existentialism and Marxism Hegelian Themes in Modern Social Thought." (n.d.): n. pag. University of Kent. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. Seeman, Melvin. On the Meaning of Alienation. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, College Division, [196. Print. Lavine, T.Z. "Six Basic Themes of Existentialism." Six Basic Themes of Existentialism - Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Kalamazoo Valley Community College, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. (Seeman) "Man is trebly alienated: a stranger to God, to nature, and to the gigantic social apparatus that supplies his material wants. But the worst and final form ... is [alienation] from his own self." - Irrational Man, William Barrett Barrett, William. Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy. N.p.: Anchor, 1958. Print. Cottard Examples of Alienation in The Plague Rambert Examples of Alienation in The Plague Camus, Albert. The Plague. New York: The Penguin Press, 1947. Print - Eventually, Paneloux comes to a point where he can't defend his religion. He admits that his "back is turned to the wall."

- Paneloux does not come to living authentically. But did he overcome his alienation? Paneloux was still alienated through normlessness, but he is able to admit that maybe his religion didn't have the explanations for the plague. -Alienation will always exist

- Although living authentically is the solution, it is impossible to achieve through human nature.

- Camus uses the examples of alienation in The Plague to portray this view In Conclusion....
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