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Existentialism & The Stranger
Transcript of Existentialism & The Stranger
Part 1 An Existentialist is concerned with:
Freedom and responsibility of the individual
Individual’s alienation from society
Facing life without the comfort of believing in GOD (not all existentialists are atheists)
An Existentialist believes:
Happiness exists only in the present
“I think, therefore I am” (Descartes)
Nature offers beauty and misery
Life is horrible, and then you die
Death fulfills nothing What You Need to Know: Existentialism &
The Stranger Symbols of Existentialism: The Sun Where have we seen the sun's influence in Part 1? Meaninglessness Does Meursault see meaning in his life? Death Does Meursault conform to society's expectations? Yes/No? Give some examples Societal Expectations Does Meursault isolate himself
from the rest of society? Why? Isolation How does Meursault deal
with death in Part 1? The Myth of Sisyphus In 1942, Camus wrote an essay, “The Myth of Sisyphus,”condemned by the Gods for disrespect, Sisyphus and his eternal punishment symbolize the human struggle for existence. Sisyphus is condemned by the gods to ceaselessly roll a rock to the top of a mountain. When he gets to the top, the stone rolls back down. The gods thought that there was no worse punishment than pointless and hopeless labor. How the story goes: Sisyphus is an absurd hero because of his eternal torture. He spent his life accomplishing nothing.
How does this relate to Meursault? Does he see a point to life? Why is Sisyphus an
absurd hero? Soren Kierkegaard -- 19th Century Danish philosopher Philosophers Who Influenced Existentialism: Friedrich Nietzsche -- 19th century German philosopher Jean Paul Sartre-- 20th century French philosopher and writer Father of existentialism.
Dealt with the issues of how one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to human reality over abstract thinking
The importance of personal choice and commitment.
Believed in God. (Christian)
the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely. Soren Kierkegaard Supported the idea of "life-affirmation", which involves an honest questioning of all aspects of life.
Happiness is not an end goal— it is instead a consequence of a successful pursuit of one's aims, of the overcoming of hurdles to one's actions — in other words, of the fulfillment of the will.
Did not believe in the establishment of moral systems based on good and evil Friedrich Nietzsche Human beings have no essence before their existence because there is no Creator.
This forms the basis for his belief that people cannot explain their own actions and behaviour by referencing specific human nature. We are fully responsible for our actions.
"We are left alone, without excuse".
We are “condemned to be free”.
We create our own morality with our choices.
Athiest Jean Paul Sartre Written by Albert Camus in 1942 The Stranger Algeria How does Meursault's boss react when he asks for time off to attend his mother's funeral?
Meursault sleeps for nearly the entire trip to Marengo for his mother's funeral. What does this say about his reaction to the news of her death?
When asked if his mother was old, Meursault responds vaguely because be can not remember her actual age. Does this surprise you?
Why does Meursault get the feeling he is being judged at his mother's funeral? Chapter 1 Meursault takes more interest in the scenery than the preceedings of his own mother's funeral.
Is there a reemerging theme related to light/nature consistent with existentialism that we see later in the novel, specifically Chapter 6?
What does this connection lead you to believe? Scenery At the end of Chapter 1, what is Meursault most excited to get home and do? What does this say about him? Marie Cardona, a former co-worker
At the movies, Marie is surprised to learn that Meursault's mother was buried only a day earlier... How do you think she percieves Meursault at this point?
How does Meursault feel about Sundays? Why does he feel this way? Chapter 2 "Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know" (1). Complains about the roller towel to his boss
Meet Salamano and his dog-- matching appearance
Meet Raymond Sintes, another neighbor, widely believed to be a pimp, but says he's a “warehouse guard.”
Raymond tells Meursault that he believes his mistress was cheating on him. Why does he believe this?
Why does Raymond ask Meursault to write him a letter? What response is he trying to elicit from his mistress? Chapter 3 "It occured to me that anyway one more Sunday was over, that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed" (23). "I tried my best to please Raymond because I didn't
have any reason not to please him" (31). Argument in Raymond's apartment
What does Raymond's mistress tell the police officer?
How does Meursault agree to help Raymond in court? Why do you think he agrees to this?
What happens to Salamano's dog? What is Salamano's reaction to this? What is Meursault's reaction?
What does hearing Salamano crying remind Meursault of? Chapter 4 "A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so" (34). "I said that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn't dissatisfied with mine here at all" (40). Chapter 5 What is Meursault's reaction to his boss' offer to move to Paris? Why does he reject this offer? Were you surprised?
What is the significance of the "robot-like" woman in the restaurant?
At the end of the chapter what does Salamano share with Meursault about his wife? His dog? What is the significance of this scene? What does it show about Salamano? "Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace. And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness" (57). Chapter 6 Beach trip
What major event happens that changes the course of the story?
Why does Meursault fire, not just once, but four more times?
How did the sunlight influence his judgement?
Is Meursault aware of the severity of his actions? End of Part 1 Chapter 1 Meursault's focus throughout the interrogation?
Connection btwn/ being asked to be careful about what he says at the trial, vs. Raymond prepping him as a character witness during Part I
Symbolism of typist's correction
To what idea is Meursault unable to become reconciled? Why?
Chapter 2 Meursault's reaction to Marie's absence?
What does Meursault pass the time in prison?
What does he miss the most?
What does his jailer explain to him and what is ironic about this realization?
Significance of newspaper article under the mattress? Chapter 3 Significance of the sun: "the trial opened with the sun glaring outside..." (79).
"I knew as soon as the weather turned hot..."(79).
"They were all looking at me: I realized that they were the jury. But I can't say what distinguished one from another. I had just one impression:" (80). What is Meursault's impression?
"I think that at first I hadn't realized that all those people were crowing in to see me. Usually people didn't pay much attention to me" (80). What sort of effect might this have on him?
"Everyone was waving and exchanging greetings and talking, as if they were in a club where people are glad to find themselves among others from the same world" (81).
"And yet something had changed..." (93).
Chapter 4 "Being the accused counts for something! What does this say about Meursault?
An ordinary man's good qualities could become crushing accusations against a guilty man.
Morally guilty of killing his mother
Punishment for murder?
Chapter 5 Conversation with chaplain; what does he encourage? What can Meursault still not do?
How does he reconcile what he's done?
How does he think about his relationship with Marie?
What does he hope for at his execution?