"The Myth of Sisyphus" and "The Stranger" by Albert Camus: Two Study Guides by Ray Moore - Read Online
"The Myth of Sisyphus" and "The Stranger" by Albert Camus
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Summary

This guide for students is aimed to support the study of the two texts, not to replace that study. The Myth of Sisyphus provides Camus' philosophical introduction to The Stranger.
Introductions and commentaries keep readers on-track, but the questions are designed to get you thinking and talking and deepen your understanding.

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ISBN: 9781301729784
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"The Myth of Sisyphus" and "The Stranger" by Albert Camus - Ray Moore

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The Myth of Sisyphus and The Stranger

by Albert Camus:

A Guide for Students

 by R. A. Moore

Dedication:

To Barbara who made everything possible.

Smashwords Edition

Copyright  2013 Ray Moore

ISBN 9781301729784

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. All rights reserved.

Contents

Preface

Chapter 1: The Myth of Sisyphus

Absurdism Made Really Easy

Sisyphus Made Really Easy

The End of the Age of Faith

The Myth of Sisyphus: An Overview

The Myth of Sisyphus: Directed Study Questions

An Absurd Reasoning

The Absurd Man

Absurd Creation

The Myth of Sisyphus

Appendix: Hope and the Absurd in the Work of Franz Kafka

Chapter 2: The Stranger

Part One

Part Two

Appendix 1: A Happy Death (1936-1938, unpublished in Camus’ lifetime)

Appendix 2: A Structure for Understanding The Stranger Part 2, Chapter 5.

Appendix 3: The Trial of Meursault

Appendix 4: The Stranger (1967) directed by Luchino Visconti

Appendix 5: Guide to Further Reading

Preface:

There are many readers and critics who believe that a novel, poem or play should stand alone, that each creative work should be capable of being understood and evaluated without reference to any other works. It is a perfectly reasonable belief, but it is not one to which Albert Camus subscribed.

The philosophical essay, The Myth of Sisyphus, published in 1942, was envisaged by Camus as part of a group of three works on the theme of the absurd, the other two being the novel The Stranger (1942) and the play Caligula (1944). The Myth of Sisyphus is thus essential reading either for those who wish to understand those two works or for those who want to trace the philosophical starting point from which Camus developed his ideas.

Whilst Caligula is seldom read today (for which reason I have not included it in this study), The Stranger has retained its popularity because it has continued to capture readers’ sense of personal alienation from the forces in society which seek to impose order and conformity. Patrick McCarthy writes, "The Stranger’s importance … lies in the way that the novel has caught fundamental traits of modern individualism: the determination to trust one’s own experience while distrusting the many and the varied forms of authority" (103). This is one of the reasons why teenagers instinctively feel that they ‘get’ Meursault. However, there is a danger in the apparent simplicity of the novel, and in its continuing appeal to a multi-generational distrust of authority, that the precise meaning of the work will be lost.

Read in conjunction with The Myth of Sisyphus, the reader is likely to understand the meaning which Camus intended the novel to convey and to be less likely to impose upon the text an interpretation which it was never intended to convey. This book is aimed to support your study of the text not to replace that study. Introductions and commentaries keep you on-track, but the questions are designed to get you thinking and talking.

It all boils down to this: We know ourselves to be entirely free at any moment in time to shoot or not to shoot, but we choose not to shoot. Why?

Note: Some sections of the text are adapted from my book The Stranger by Albert Camus: A Critical Introduction (2012) which is available from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

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Back to Contents

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Chapter 1: The Myth of Sisyphus

Absurdism Made Really Easy

Answer the following:

Question 1.

Do you feel that life has meaning?

Question 2.

Either: If you feel it does, what gives it meaning?

Or: If you feel it does not, why doesn’t it have meaning?

Since that was so easy, here is a bonus question:

Question 3.

Either: If you feel that life has meaning, do you go around trying to convince other people that it does?

Or: If you feel that life has no