Absurdism in L'Etranger

Max Cooper
Mind Map by Max Cooper, updated more than 1 year ago
Max Cooper
Created by Max Cooper about 6 years ago
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Beast mind map on Absurdism - not many quotes

Resource summary

Absurdism in L'Etranger
1 Absurdism refers to the conflict between 1) the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and 2) the human inability to find any. Total certainty is impossible due to the vast realm of the unknown so efforts to find value and meaning in life will ultimately fail
2 Meursault comes to the realisation that life has no meaning and that the universe is indifferent
2.1 Dislikes others placing meaning on his life. Aumonier says he should ask for forgiveness but why? God does not exist
2.2 Others cannot understand that life has no meaning
2.2.1 Juge d'instruction: Voulez-vous...que ma vie n'ait pas de sens
3 Finite human existence
3.1 Meursault knows he must die but still rebels against it
3.1.1 p180-1: j'étais sûr...de ma vie et de cette mort qui allait venir
3.2 M accepts nothing outside of his own individual experience
3.2.1 Cannot subscribe to Christian view that death is a beginning - no one can know what happens after death and he is only certain of his own eventual death
3.2.1.1 Death is the only certainty. This realisation is key to M's character development
3.3 M concerned with age, decrepitude and death
3.3.1 Atmosphere of Asile
3.3.2 Appearance of people in asile - Perez
3.3.3 Old Salamano and scabby dog
3.3.4 M is fascinated by ugly side of life
3.3.4.1 No judgement, just interesting
3.3.5 Does it matter to him whether he dies at 30 or 70
3.3.5.1 He accepts that he has no importance beyond himself. He knows that death is inevitable
4 God does not exist
4.1 World and man's presence is not part of a divine plan
4.1.1 Man's existence is the result of haphazard coincidences
4.1.1.1 Therein lies M's refusal to commit to anything
4.1.2 Therefore refutes the Christianity of Aum and juge
4.1.2.1 Rien, rien n'avait d'importance et je savais bien pourquoi
4.1.2.2 What is criticised in their christianity?
4.1.2.2.1 Idea of a divine creator
4.1.2.2.2 Notion of guilt
4.1.2.2.3 Need for repentance, forgiveness and redemption
4.1.2.2.4 Existence of immortal soul
4.1.2.2.5 Promise of eternal life - hence need for forgiveness
5 Lack of meaning to life
5.1 There is no rational explanation for M's actions like killing Arab or marrying Marie
5.1.1 Society tries to impose reasons behind M's actions
5.1.1.1 These reasons are not grounded in fact
5.1.1.2 Way to refute the notion that life has no meaning
5.1.1.3 Trial is a way for society to impose a rational meaning on an irrational universe
5.2 Spectating and observing are part of humanity's efforts to find a greater meaning to life. Concentration on details tries to clarify a higher meaning
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