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Essay on Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): Apathy

Apathy in The Stranger (Outsider)

Often times an author incorporates a thought or philosophy into a work that can shape or reshape the attitude emitted from the novel. In Albert Camus’, The Stranger, the Existential philosophy that the author fills into the work give an aura of apathy. With the opening lines of “Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure,” Camus immediately sets a tone of indifference (1). Though the protagonist, Mersault, is not completely without cares, the overall attitude of passiveness he has toward himself, as well as toward others, give the entire novel a tone of apathy.

With an analyzation of Mersault’s character, an automatic attitude of nonchalance is quickly seen. Mersault does not lie to himself, let alone to others, because he has no need to. He does not care about the set laws of society, and he feels that he has no one to please, including himself, which is a reason why he has no qualms about being brutally honest and not hiding his feelings. This is …

The Outcast in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Life as an Outcast in Huckleberry Finn

One of the themes that has been addressed by writers since the beginning of civilization is the issue of the split between living in society and living by oneself. We see this in that peculiarly American genre of books known as “road books”, in which the protagonist embarks upon a long journey or period of time away from society in order to “find themselves.” One of the quintessential examples of this type of book is Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, technically a “river book” rather than a “road book”. In it, as in many “road books” before and since, spending a long period of time away from society allows the protagonist to see the difference between the rules of mainstream society and the freedom of the wilderness. Through his journey, Twain illustrates the futility of living within society as contrasted to the freedom of being an outcast.

It is interesting that Huck’s morals are much stronger when he is on the river than on the shore. Huck’s “attacks of conscience” only occur on the river. For ex…

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