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Free Essays on The Stranger (The Outsider): Freedom and Death

Freedom and Death in The Stranger (The Outsider)

In The Stranger (The Outsider), as in all Camus’ works, Camus’ views on freedom and death – one dependent on the other – are major themes. For Camus, freedom arises in awareness of one’s life, the every-moment life, an intense glorious life that needs no redeeming, no regrets, no tears. Death is unjustifiable, absurd; it is but a reintegration into the cosmos for a “free” man. Until a person reaches this awareness, life, like death, is absurd, and indeed, generically, life remains absurd, though each individual’s life can be valuable and meaningful to him. In a sense, The Stranger is a parable of Camus’ philosophy, with emphasis on that which is required for freedom. Meursault, hero of The Stranger, is not a person one would be apt to meet in reality in this respect; Meursault does not achieve the awakening of consciousness, so essential to freedom and to living Camus’ philosophy until the very end of the book, yet he has lived his entire life in according with the morality of Camus’ philosophy. His equivalent in the Christian philosophy would be an irreligious person whose homeland has never encountered Christianity who, upon having it explained by a missionary, realizes he has never sinned. What is the morality, the qualities necessary for freedom, which Meursault manifested? First, the ruling trait of his character is his passion for the absolute truth. While in Meursault this takes the form of a truth of being and feeling, it is still the truth necessary to the conquest of the self or of the world. This passion is so profound that it obtains even when denying it might save his life. Second, and not unrelated to the first, is Meursault’s acceptance of nature as what it is and nothing more, his rejection of the supernatural, including any god. Actually, “rejection” of God is not accurate until later when he is challenged to accept the concept; Meursault simply has never considered God and religion worthwhile pursuing. The natural makes sense; the supernatural doesn’t. It follows that death to Meursault also is what it is naturally; the end of life, cessation, and that is all. Third, and logically following, Meursault lives entirely in the present. The past is past and dwelling upon it in any mood is simply a waste of the present. As to the future, the ultimate future is death; to sacrifice the present to the future is equivalent to sacrificing life to death.

deatharms Dealing with Death in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms

Dealing with Death in A Farewell to Arms

“I’m afraid of the rain because sometimes I picture myself dead in it” (P 126). This is a short quotation from, A Farewell to Arms, (1929), by Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms has a very unexpected death in the end. The reader sympathizes with the main character as he matures from the beginning to the conclusion of the novel.

A Farewell to Arms is a love story during World War I. The novel is centered on Lieutenant Fredric Henry, an American who has volunteered for the Italian army driving ambulances in Europe because the United States has not yet entered the war. Fredric is known as being a lost man searching for order and value in his life. He is very subdued and does not care about himself or about the war. In the first book of the novel, Fredric is characterized, along with the other characters. Throughout the first book, Fredric takes a leave of absence from the war and travels the country looking for his purpose in life.

During the second book, Fredric returns to the warfront town and meets with his closest friend, Rinaldi, who introduces Fredric to Catherine Barkely. Catherine is a French nurse with whom Fredric falls in love immediately. Fredric finds commitment with her, and they start to spend time together. Their relationship brings order and value to his life. He starts to care more about himself and Catherine. Being away from the war, Fredric feels safe with Catherine. When they are together, the war seems to not exist. “The war seemed as far away as the football games of someone else’s college,” says Fredric (P 63).

Catherine is experienced when it comes to love and loss since she lost her fiancé in an earlier war. She cannot depend on another person so she tries not to depend on Fredric to bring order to her life and less chaos. This then allows her to be emotionally stronger when Fredric has to go off to war again.

While off at war, Fredric and his other driver friends are sitting in a cave, when the Austrians attack. Fredric is hit in the knee while trying to help his friend, who dies. Fredric is taken to the hospital in Milan. When he arrives at the hospital, Rinaldi and Catherine come to visit him.

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