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George Romero

Ms. Day

British Literature/ Composition

14 February 2018

Albert Camus Capstone


Albert Camus was a French philosopher, journalist, and most importantly, novelist. He

wrote many innovative essays where he would discuss his own outlooks on life, and why the

meaning of life is that there is no meaning. His essays, such as The Myth of Sisyphus, pushed the

idea of existentialism, or the idea that humans were not born with a specific purpose or inherit

meaning, and are therefore encouraged to, by their own free will, make their own choices,

whether good or bad, and make their life have or not have a sense of meaning. On top of his

philosophical writings, Camus further added to his resume with various additional novels,

including The Stranger, where he discusses different concepts on the outlook on life, and why

life itself is what he would call absurd. Albert Camus, through his many life experiences, was

greatly influenced by the way he was raised, inspiring many of his works, allowing for him to

create pieces of literature that greatly pushed for different perspectives in a world that has infinite

questions and not enough answers.

A large portion of Camus’ influences came at an early age. Being born in a small village

near the northeast region of French Algeria, Albert was always considered an outsider. He was

raised by his widowed mother, losing his father when he was called to military service and died

due to shrapnel wounds during his time fighting in WWI. Although Camus did not recall much

about his father, one of the few things he did remember was his father becoming terribly ill after

viewing a public execution. This memory greatly affected a young Camus, leading him to a firm
belief in opposing the dead penalty, which he would demonstrate later on in his philosophical

essay “Reflections on the Guillotine,” and his most famous novel, The Stranger. After the dead

of his father, Camus was left with his older brother and mother. Catherine Camus was illiterate,

partially deaf, and troubled with speech impediment, and as a result, worked at an ammunition

factory and a housekeeper to help support her family. This caused Camus to live much of his

adolescent years in brutal poverty, a time in which he would later describe in his autobiography

The First Man, to be a mixture of pain and affection. Camus would go on to attend a Catholic

school, where he excelled as a pupil, and was introduced to the native Muslim community,

giving him his ideas of the “outsider”, a topic that would greatly dominate his later writings. As

Camus continued to grow, he was exposed and studied much of the Catholic faith. He was

baptized, raised, and educated in the Catholic faith, yet, had no belief in the supernatural or the

religion. In his college years, Camus studied more philosophers who discussed religion, and

would eventually reach his own conclusion after reading from authors Arthur Schopenhauer and

Friedrich Nietzsche on the belief of pessimism and atheism. Camus’ learning would result in his

own belief of absurdism, a topic he would discuss in many of his works. As a result of Camus’

early childhood, much of his literature is heavily inspired by the events of his past.

The Stranger, arguably Camus’ most famous works, has many connections that relate his

many experiences in life, along with events and influences that directly correspond to his ideas

demonstrated in the novel. In the novel, Camus’ pushes the notion that life has no meaning, and

that its’ events are a result of choices made freely by individuals. The story follows the life of

Meursault, a character who truly embraces the meaninglessness of life. The novel describes

absurdism, or the theory that refers to the conflict between humans and their utter need to seek

value and purpose in life, and the impossibility of finding it.


Albert Camus was a French philosopher, journalist, and most importantly, novelist. He

wrote many innovative essays where he would discuss his own outlooks on life, and why the

meaning of life is that there is no meaning. His essays, such as The Myth of Sisyphus, pushed the

idea of existentialism, or the idea that humans were not born with a specific purpose or inherit

meaning, and are therefore encouraged to, by their own free will, make their own choices,

whether good or bad, and make their life have or not have a sense of meaning. On top of his

philosophical writings, Camus further added to his resume with various additional novels,

including The Stranger, where he discusses different concepts on the outlook on life, and why

life itself is what he would call absurd. Albert Camus, through his many life experiences, was

greatly influenced by the way he was raised, inspiring many of his works, allowing for him to

create pieces of literature that greatly pushed for different perspectives in a world that has infinite

questions and not enough answers.

A large portion of Camus’ influences came at an early age. Being born in a small village

near the northeast region of French Algeria, Albert was always considered an outsider. He was

raised by his widowed mother, losing his father when he was called to military service and died

due to shrapnel wounds during his time fighting in WWI. Although Camus did not recall much

about his father, one of the few things he did remember was his father becoming terribly ill after

viewing a public execution. This memory greatly affected a young Camus, leading him to a firm

belief in opposing the dead penalty, which he would demonstrate later on in his philosophical

essay “Reflections on the Guillotine,” and his most famous novel, The Stranger. After the dead

of his father, Camus was left with his older brother and mother. Catherine Camus was illiterate,

partially deaf, and troubled with speech impediment, and as a result, worked at an ammunition

factory and a housekeeper to help support her family. This caused Camus to live much of his
adolescent years in brutal poverty, a time in which he would later describe in his autobiography

The First Man, to be a mixture of pain and affection. Camus would go on to attend a Catholic

school, where he excelled as a pupil, and was introduced to the native Muslim community,

giving him his ideas of the “outsider”, a topic that would greatly dominate his later writings. As

Camus continued to grow, he was exposed and studied much of the Catholic faith. He was

baptized, raised, and educated in the Catholic faith, yet, had no belief in the supernatural or the

religion. In his college years, Camus studied more philosophers who discussed religion, and

would eventually reach his own conclusion after reading from authors Arthur Schopenhauer and

Friedrich Nietzsche on the belief of pessimism and atheism. Camus’ learning would result in his

own belief of absurdism, a topic he would discuss in many of his works. As a result of Camus’

early childhood, much of his literature is heavily inspired by the events of his past.

The Stranger, arguably Camus’ most famous works, has many connections that relate his

many experiences in life, along with events and influences that directly correspond to his ideas

demonstrated in the novel. In the novel, Camus’ pushes the notion that life has no meaning, and

that its’ events are a result of choices made freely by individuals. The story follows the life of

Meursault, a character who truly embraces the meaninglessness of life. The novel describes

absurdism, or the theory that refers to the conflict between humans and their utter need to seek

value and purpose in life, and the impossibility of finding it.

A large portion of Camus’ influences came at an early age. Being born in a small village

near the northeast region of French Algeria, Albert was always considered an outsider. He was

raised by his widowed mother, losing his father when he was called to military service and died

due to shrapnel wounds during his time fighting in WWI. Although Camus did not recall much

about his father, one of the few things he did remember was his father becoming terribly ill after
viewing a public execution. This memory greatly affected a young Camus, leading him to a firm

belief in opposing the dead penalty, which he would demonstrate later on in his philosophical

essay “Reflections on the Guillotine,” and his most famous novel, The Stranger. After the dead

of his father, Camus was left with his older brother and mother. Catherine Camus was illiterate,

partially deaf, and troubled with speech impediment, and as a result, worked at an ammunition

factory and a housekeeper to help support her family. This caused Camus to live much of his

adolescent years in brutal poverty, a time in which he would later describe in his autobiography

The First Man, to be a mixture of pain and affection. Camus would go on to attend a Catholic

school, where he excelled as a pupil, and was introduced to the native Muslim community,

giving him his ideas of the “outsider”, a topic that would greatly dominate his later writings. As

Camus continued to grow, he was exposed and studied much of the Catholic faith. He was

baptized, raised, and educated in the Catholic faith, yet, had no belief in the supernatural or the

religion. In his college years, Camus studied more philosophers who discussed religion, and

would eventually reach his own conclusion after reading from authors Arthur Schopenhauer and

Friedrich Nietzsche on the belief of pessimism and atheism. Camus’ learning would result in his

own belief of absurdism, a topic he would discuss in many of his works. As a result of Camus’

early childhood, much of his literature is heavily inspired by the events of his past.
Works Cited

Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Translated by Matthew Ward, Lbrairie Gallimard, 1942.

Simpson, David. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, www.iep.utm.edu/camus/.